I’ve got the world on a string
I’m sitting on a rainbow...
“I’ve Got The World On A String”
Written by Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler
** MEN’S BASKETBALL NEWS: Titan fans will remember November 16, 2009 as the night that we finally beat UCLA on the floor of Pauley Pavilion. Although it was the tenth try for the Fightin’ Titans (0-0, 2-0), that just made the victory all the more sweet. Let’s review: We won 68-65, in double-overtime, in front of an ESPN TV national audience. I couldn’t write a better script.
When looking at the heroes, you’ve got to start with Aaron Thompson. He had a break-out game, scoring 22 points, grabbing 9 rebounds, and adding 3 assists. Bryce Webster proved that he was worth all of the off-season fan hype by being a MONSTER in the paint, hauling down 14 (it seemed like more) very physical and very athletic rebounds, scoring 6 points, and adding a key blocked shot late in the game. Jacques Streeter was the floor general. While scoring 11 points, his other numbers don’t look that impressive on paper, but he kept the offense flowing, and only had one turnover despite UCLA’s frantic defense. He also knocked down a huge 3-pointer late in the second overtime.
In the greatest experiment since the Manhattan Project, Gerard Anderson is growing more comfortable at the 3 by the day, scoring 14 points, including a few thunderous dunks, and adding 6 boards, 5 assists, 4 steals, and only 2 turnovers. Jer'Vaughn Johnson hauled down 8 rebounds, and contributed 9 points. Orane Chin had 6 points and 3 rebounds in reserve.
Over dinner, I was asked how many Titans would play that night. I correctly guessed the 9 that played. Some people out there (and you know who you are) owe me a cocktail! Devon Peltier, Papa Guisse, and Jamel McGuire also played limited minutes. None scored.
The combination of Bryce Webster, Jer’Vaughn Johnson, Gerard Anderson, Aaron Thompson and Jacques Streeter played nearly every second of both overtimes, and the last ten minutes of the second half. This was truly the “Crunch Time Crew.”
(L to R: Aaron Thompson, Bryce Webster, Jacques Streeter, Saint Bob Burton of Nutwood Avenue)
I stuck around late last night (actually early this morning) with a group of Titans fans to cheer the players and coaches when they got on the bus to head back to Titantown. When I woke up around 8:15 this morning, I turned on the TV, and the first story that I saw on Sports Center was our win over UCLA. Pretty good timing, huh? I didn't even need to pinch myself.
As much as I am enjoying our victory today, it has given me pause to reflect: Does anyone remember where we were from the mid-1990’s to the mid-2000’s? There was a Big West Tournament loss against CSUN that left me so disheartened that I was unable to move, and was literally the last fan to leave the Anaheim Convention Center. Pam Jones-Tintle, in her kindness, came all they way across the building to try to help walk me out. I was frankly beginning to ask myself how longer I could endure such trauma.
Switch forward to 2009: It’s hard to imagine, but we’ve since experienced two NIT victories, two Big West Players of the Year, two All-Americans, two NBA players, a Big West championship, an NCAA appearance, and now a win at UCLA.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: “In Bob I Trust!”
Tonight, when I get in bed and say my prayers, I'll put in a special word for Bob Burton, all of our coaches and players past and present, and especially for Brian Quinn (who made this happen), and Steve DiTolla, Pam Jones-Tintle, Mel "Hall of Fame" Franks, Kellie Cox, and all of the people behind the scenes who work so hard in support of Cal State Fullerton athletics. But most of all, I'll say a prayer for YOU, the fans, who have stood with me, and the Titans, for all these many, many years!!!
In the words of Tiny Tim: "God Bless Us, Every One."