Basketball Team Report: February 3rd

After careful consideration, Cal State Fullerton coach Bob Burton has determined that the best offense is … no offense?

GETTING INSIDE

The Titans are winging it, and winging it pretty well. The Titans are 2-2 since scrapping their offensive sets following a Jan. 16 loss to Cal State Northridge.

Cal State Fullerton beat UC Irvine, won in overtime at Cal State Bakersfield, lost by seven to first-place Pacific and lost by five in overtime to second-place UC Santa Barbara.

“What we did, which is really unbelievable, was throw out most of our offenses, and we really worked hard on (the players) just playing,” Burton told the Daily Pilot.

“We found out our guys play way better doing that than thinking about plays and so forth. It’s really funny, if you look over (on our bench), we hold up the plays on the board, but all we have written on it right now is ‘Play.’”

The Titans field-goal percentage is up slightly, but there’s been a more significant drop in their 3-point shooting percentage. The Titans shot 44.5 percent from the field and 29.5 percent from 3-point range with 48 turnovers over the past four games through Feb. 2.

In the previous four games, they shot 42 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from 3-point range with 49 turnovers. Most notably, scoring went up from 73.5 points per game to 79.8.

“It lets us just play,” sophomore point guard Jacques Streeter told the Daily Pilot. “Sometimes when we tend to think a lot on offense, it causes turnovers.

“So (Burton) told us just to play, and when we play, it’s like the greatest offense ever, because we’re moving and passing, and we’re being unselfish and we’re scoring.”

Forward Jer’Vaughn Johnson scored 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting, guard Devon Peltier scored 21, and the Titans shot 45.8 percent in a an 85-80 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 23.

Forward Aaron Thompson scored 23 points to lead six players in double figures, and the Titans shot 44.8 percent in a 92-84 victory over Cal State Bakersfield on Jan. 26.

That win didn’t help the Titans in the Big West standings, but a 74-68 victory over UC Irvine on Jan. 30 did.

NOTES, QUOTES

—Cal State Fullerton will play host to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, a transitioning Division I program with an affiliation to the Ohio Valley Conference, in a BracketBusters game on Feb. 20. The Cougars were 3-18 when the pairings were announced Jan. 31. The game will not be on television. Pacific was the only Big West Conference team selected to appear in one of 11 nationally televised BracketBusters games on Feb. 19-20.

• Sophomore F Orane Chin has emerged as a key reserve for the Titans. Chin had a breakout performance with 16 points, seven rebounds and two steals in a Jan. 21 game against Pacific. He had career highs of 23 points and eight rebounds in a 74-68 victory over UC Irvine on Jan. 30. Chin, who averages 7.4 points and 3.5 rebounds, has scored in double figures in three of the past four games through Feb. 2 after doing so four times in the first 16 games.

On The Spot: The Titans have lost six of their last seven road games and six of nine this season. That doesn’t bode well for them with three of their next four conference games on the road. The Titans will visit Long Beach State on Feb. 4, UC Irvine on Feb. 10 and Cal State Northridge on Feb. 13. If they can find a way to win a couple of those games, the Titans could put themselves in good position to earn a first-round bye in the Big West Tournament.

Quote To Note: “Chin played the best he has played since he has been here. He was really, I thought, the difference at the end of the game, offensively.”—Cal State Fullerton coach Bob Burton, on sophomore F Orane Chin, to the Daily Pilot following 74-68 victory over UC Irvine on Jan. 30.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Season Recap: Cal State Fullerton is nothing if not streaky, and all things seem to happen in threes. The Titans won their first three games this season and lost their next three. They lost three in a row in late December, won three in a row early in January and then lost three in a row in mid-January. They’ve won their last two games, which might foretell a big road victory over Long Beach State on Feb. 4 followed shortly thereafter by a collapse that will cast them out of the Big West championship race.

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:

  • UC Santa Barbara 85, Cal State Fullerton 80
  • Cal State Fullerton 92, Cal State Bakersfield 84
  • Cal State Fullerton 74, UC Irvine 68

Game Preview:

  • at Long Beach State, Thursday, Feb. 4
  • vs. UC Riverside, Saturday, Feb. 6
  • at UC Irvine, Wednesday, Feb. 10
  • at Cal State Northridge, Saturday, Feb. 13
  • vs. UC Santa Barbara, Wednesday, Feb. 17

In Focus: Cal State Fullerton can create some separation between itself and Long Beach State when the Titans visit the Pyramid on Feb. 4. The 49ers and Titans were tied with UC Davis for fourth place in the Big West at 4-4. The Titans handed Long Beach State an 85-75 loss on Jan. 7 at Titan Gym. Senior F Gerard Anderson and sophomore PG Jacques Streeter were sensational that night. Anderson scored 22 points on 8-of-8 shooting with five rebounds, three assists, one steal and one blocked shot. Streeter had 20 points with five assists, two rebounds and two steals.

Roster Report:

• Junior G Devon Peltier continued his hot shooting in the Jan. 30 game against UC Irvine. Peltier made 5-of-9 shots from 3-point range to finish with 15 points. Over the last seven games through Feb. 2, Peltier averaged 14.3 points on 30-of-64 (46.9) shooting from the field and 24-of-51 (47.1) shooting from 3-point range.

• Senior F Gerard Anderson has battled inconsistency this season, but he posted consecutive double-doubles in games against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 23 and Cal State Bakersfield on Jan. 26. Anderson had 11 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in a loss to UC Santa Barbara. He had 14 points and 10 rebounds in a victory over Cal State Bakersfield.

• Senior F Aaron Thompson enjoyed one of the best games of his career in the Jan. 26 victory over Cal State Bakersfield. Thompson had 24 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and one steal. He made 6-of-12 shots from the field, including 1-of-3 from 3-point range, and 11-of-12 free throws.