Team Report: January 13th

Cal State Fullerton coach Bob Burton said his team was gaining confidence after posting Big West Conference wins over Long Beach State and UC Riverside, and he's right if the words of senior forward Aaron Thompson are any indication.

GETTING INSIDE

“I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes, but I think we are the best team in the Big West,” Thompson told the Orange County Register.

That remains to be seen, but you can’t blame the Titans for feeling good about themselves after winning one big game at home and another on the road.

Senior forward Gerard Anderson scored a career-high 22 points and sophomore guard Jacques Streeter had 20 to help the Titans to an 85-75 victory over Long Beach State, the preseason favorite in the Big West Conference.

Two days later, senior forward Aaron Thompson posted had 17 points and a career-high 10 rebounds as the Titans snapped a seven-game road losing streak with a 69-56 victory over UC Riverside.

“We’re excited about this,” Burton said. “It’s a tremendous win for us. We were set up for a letdown here after an emotional win over Long Beach State. … We are relaxing more and getting our confidence with two wins in a row.

“Part of our problems on the road was a long stretch where we had injuries and illness. Anderson had a hand injury, and Jacques had the flu.”

The Titans’ road struggles were a serious concern going into Big West Conference play. They had lost their last seven games away from Titan Gym, four on the road and three on neutral courts.

Junior guard Devon Peltier helped put an end to the losing streak, providing a nice spark in the victory over UC Riverside. He made 4-of-4 shots from three-point range and finished with 14 points after making 2-of-14 from beyond the arc in the two previous games.

“We want (Peltier) to shoot, shoot, shoot,” Burton told The Register. “Honestly, I want him to shoot more. What you saw today is what he is capable of doing.”

NOTES, QUOTES

• Cal State Fullerton leads the Big West Conference in free throw shooting at 73.2 percent despite some recent inconsistency. The Titans made only 13-of-28 free throws in a 67-63 loss to UC Davis in the Big West opener on Jan. 2. They returned to form five days later, making 23-of-26 in an 85-75 victory over Long Beach State, but converted only 6-of-10 in a 69-56 victory over UC Riverside on Jan. 9.

• Senior F Aaron Thompson has made 24-of-37 three-point shots this season and leads the nation in three-point shooting percentage at 64.9 percent. In the past four games, Thompson has made 10-of-13 from beyond the arc, including 4-of-4 against Cal State Bakersfield, 3-of-3 against UC Davis and 2-of-2 against UC Riverside.

On The Spot:   Cal State Fullerton coach Bob Burton has given 5-11 junior G Devon Peltier a green light. Sometimes Peltier is ready to go. Sometimes he isn’t. Peltier made only 4-of-19 from the field and 2-of-14 from three-point range in games against UC Davis and Long Bach State, but be bounced back with 14 points on 4-of-4 shooting from three-point range against UC Riverside. Peltier has scored in double figures seven times this season, but he’s been streaky from the start. The Titans will need him to be more consistent as the stakes get higher over the course of the season.

Quote To Note:   “We’ve struggled a lot on the road to a certain degree, and part of it was a stretch in there where we had some real injuries. I think our kids are relaxing more, and I think that they are getting some confidence now. This is just a tremendous win for us.”—Cal State Fullerton coach Bob Burton, to the Orange County Register, following a road victory over UC Riverside.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Season Recap:   The Titans have turned in two stellar performances after losing seven of their previous nine games, including the Big West Conference opener against UC Davis. Beating preseason favorite Long Beach State in the conference opener was big. Beating UC Riverside on the road, in a building where the Highlanders have been nearly unbeatable over the past two years, was even bigger.

Player Rotation:   Usual Starters—G Jacques Streeter, G Aaron Thompson, F Gerard Anderson, F Jer’Vaughn Johnson, C Bryce Webster. Key Subs—G Devon Peltier, F Orane Chin, F Papa Guisse, G Jamal McGuire.

Game Review:  

  • Morehead State 69, Cal State Fullerton 62
  • Cal State Fullerton 77, Cal State Bakersfield 70
  • UC Davis 67, Cal State Fullerton 63
  • Cal State Fullerton 85, Long Beach State 75
  • Cal State Fullerton 69, UC Riverside 56

Game Preview:  

  • vs. Cal Poly, Thursday, Jan. 14
  • vs. Cal State Northridge, Saturday, Jan. 16
  • at Pacific, Thursday, Jan. 21
  • at UC Santa Barbara, Saturday, Jan. 23
  • at Cal State Bakersfield, Monday, Jan. 26

In Focus:   UC Davis point guard Mark Payne is by far and away the best point guard in the Big West Conference, but two of the conference’s best young floor leaders will face off when Cal Poly visits Cal State Fullerton. Freshman Kyle Odister is averaging 9.9 points, two assists, 1.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals for the Mustangs, and is shooting an eye-popping 48.8 percent from three-point range. Odister will have his hands full with Cal State Fullerton sophomore Jacques Streeter, who averages 11.5 points, 4.2 assists and 2.7 rebounds.

Roster Report:  

• Senior F Gerard Anderson has increased his production in recent weeks after averaging only 5.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in eight December games. Anderson scored a season-high 22 points on 8-of-8 shooting in an 85-75 victory over Long Beach State. Over the last three games, he is averaging 16.7 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 62 percent shooting from the field and 60 percent shooting from three-point range.

• Jacques Streeter, Gerard Anderson, Papa Guisse, Aaron Thompson and Ray Miller combined for 110 starts last season, but Cal State Fullerton coach Bob Burton doesn’t have one player left from the 2008-09 team that reached the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big West Conference championship.

• The Titans’ roster is dotted with players who came to Cal State Fullerton with previous Division I experience. F Orane Chin played at South Florida, F Jer’Vaugh Johnson at San Diego State, C Bryce Webster at Minnesota and G Eric Williams at Metro State. The Titans have two more Division I transfers, Sean Williams from Syracuse and Andre Hardy from Oral Roberts, who are redshirting this season.

• There is at least one more Division I transfer on the way. The Titans have signed De’Andre Haskins, a 6-4 wing from Citrus College who averaged 6.2 points and 2.6 rebounds as a freshman at Valparaiso.