Cal State Fullerton was looking to boost their record to 3-1 and for most of the game against Portland State it appeared that the Titans would pull off the upset.
This was a tough game to evaluate as most every Titan had ups and downs throughout the game. To wit:
Josh Akognon had a poor first half but game back strong to help the Titans build up an 11-point lead. He then had two straight turnover which seemed to change the momentum in the Vikings favor. Then he had a huge three to put the Titans up by one. But finally he missed a floater and then took an ill-advised baseline jumper which was easily blocked with 2.4 seconds remaining in the game.
Gerard Anderson had a similar ups and downs. He scored 18 points and had 10 rebounds (hmm, In N Out) but he complimented that with foul trouble and 9 turnovers. He also missed a layup as time expired.
Same thing with Jacques Streeter. He had some really nice buckets, including some very much needed threes, and excellent passes but he also had some defensive lapses and six turnovers. He did have 7 rebounds which is why he was TitanCentral.com's pick for Titan Player of the Game.
Papa Guisse and Raymond Miller also were victims of the good and bad. Miller played his best game as a Titan as he was aggressive on the offensive boards but he missed a dunk and was again in foul trouble, limiting him to only 15 minutes. Papa Guisse didn't play as well has he had previously as he was once again in foul trouble (two in the first two minutes of the game). He also didn't seem to be as focused. Both Papa and Ray did a very poor job defensively on PSU's Jamie Jones.
Aaron Thompson played well but seemed to disappear when we needed him most. He had a few highlight reel moments but that aggressiveness was nowhere to be found at the end. Ameer Shamsud-din played 14 minutes and did a good job on the reigning Big Sky Player of the Year Jeremiah Domingues but, offensively, he seemed tentative.
Chris Ryhmes did not look as smooth against better competition but this was his first game against Division I competition. Adam Thomas played one minute or enough time to commit two fouls.
Injury Note: Mel Franks indicated on his broadcast that senior guard Marcio Lassiter injured a leg during a practice session. Apparently he and Thompson collided. Mel said that X-rays were likely to take place Monday or Tuesday after they returned home. Lassiter did not play in the game.
TitanCentral.com Take: We said it after the Hope game: "Post Play is the biggest worry." Jones looked pretty good but I am sure we will face better in the Big West so we need one of our Big's to step up, otherwise we are going to be playing more zone. Not getting in foul trouble would be a start and being able to handle passes and finish down low should also be one of the goals.
We are -- don't you love how TitanCentral.com sounds like a business of more than one -- encouraged with the fact that we committed so many turnovers yet only lost on the road to a conference favorite by one point. I am this close (holding thumb and forefinger about 1/8 inch a part) to awarding the Titans with a moral victory.
The team is just starting to take shape, and we now know we will be competitive in the Big West, but the road is only going to get tougher in the next two weeks. Vegas says we will have a 2-6 record by the time the Titans return home for their game against Central Michigan.
TitanCentral.com will be driving the bandwagon, hopefully there will still be a passenger or two.