"(Devon) Peltier is a phenomenal shooter. If it wasn't for him, it would have been really bad," Burton said. "He did his part. If we could have just had some of the other guys step up."
This Orange County Register quote perfectly sums up the Titans loss to Northridge on Saturday night. A crucial home setback that now leaves Cal State Fullerton 3-2 in the Big West before heading on the road for three games. A split in the next two conferences games is a must if the Titans want any hope of getting Burton his second Big West Championship.
Like Cal Poly SLO, Northridge played a zone the entire night but the difference was that CSUN is more athletic and were much more committed. The Titans will be seeing a lot more zone the rest of the year until they can make quicker decisions, better passes and shoot the open shot when it's available.
Devon Peltier was huge and has been in a good shooting zone since conference play started. What a great signing this has turned out to be.
Coach Andy Newman said at the pre-game chalk talk that Jacques Streeter is still nursing a sprained ankle suffered against Long Beach State. Injury or not, he struggled in the first half. He couldn't shoot, pass and he held the ball way too much. He simply needs to make quicker decisions.
Midway into the second half, he started to play with the sense of urgency which was needed in the first half. He could be the best point guard in the league if he would simply stop thinking so much. When he's on, he is amazing, but KirkSR really called this one way back in summer league. 31% on three-pointers and 39% shooting overall is going to keep opponents in a zone.
If it were just Streeter playing poorly, we likely would have won. This was a team effort and no one, besides Peltier, shined.
Have to give Northridge some credit, however. Coach Braswell does not have nearly the talent this year as he has had in the past but the Matadors bought into playing zone the whole game. In addition, Braswell worked the referees much better than Burton. I don't think there is another coach in the Big West who can get away with the verbal abuse he dishes out every game but more power to him.
The good news is that the Titans have shown some great perseverance and they will keep battling. A top four seed is still very much in their sights but they will have to come up with a way to beat the zone.