Basketball Team Report: February 17th

Cal State Fullerton coach Bob Burton will never forget the night a little-used walk-on scored five points in the last 12 seconds to help the Titans escape with a wild 113-112 triple-overtime victory against Cal State Northridge.

GETTING INSIDE

Junior guard Eric Williams checked into the Feb. 13 game with 2:44 remaining in the third overtime after starting point guard Jacques Streeter fouled out after logging 49 minutes. Williams made a layup to cut the Matadors’ lead to 110-109 with 12 seconds to play before Cal State Northridge guard Mark Hill made two free throws to put the Matadors up 112-109.

The Matadors elected to foul sophomore forward Gerard Anderson with four seconds left. Anderson made the first free throw but missed the second intentionally. Williams grabbed the rebound on the left side of the key, banked in his put-back attempt, drew a foul and made the free throw to give the Titans an improbable victory.

Footage of Williams’ put-back is available at: www.bigwest.org//story.asp?story_id=13429.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Burton said. “That’s as resilient a team as I’ve ever seen. We were dead so many times but kept coming back, and to win is terrific. We never quit. That will be one of my most memorable wins.”

It was a climactic end to a week in which the Titans won two road games to move into sole possession of third place in the Big West Conference after being tangled up in a four-way tie for fourth a week earlier. They bounced back from a 76-59 loss to UC Riverside on Feb. 6 with a 72-61 victory over UC Irvine on Feb. 10.

“We did an outstanding job tonight,” Burton told the Orange County Register. “Defensively, I don’t know if we could have played any better, and in the second half, we really came together offensively.

“We were really embarrassed about the way we played (against UC Riverside), and it was really important for us to come out and see where our team was and where we’re headed. We’ll see what happens (at home against first-place UCSB).”

NOTES, QUOTES

• Ten players scored in double figures and 11 fouled out in Cal State Fullerton’s 113-112 triple-overtime victory over Cal State Northridge on Feb. 13. The teams combined to shoot 110 free throws. Senior G/F Kenny Daniels scored 25 points to lead five Matadors in double figures. Senior F Gerard Anderson had 25 to lead six in double figures for the Titans. Three Cal State Fullerton players scored 21 points or more, and Cal State Northridge had a staggering 77-28 advantage in points off the bench. It was the highest-scoring game in the 50-year history of the Cal State Fullerton basketball program. The Titans also set school records for free throws made (44) and attempted (61).

• Four of Cal State Fullerton’s last seven games as of Feb. 15 had gone into overtime. The Titans are 4-1 in overtime games this season. They are 3-0 all-time in triple-overtime games but 0-2 in quadruple-overtime contests.

• Cal State Fullerton coach Bob Burton stressed the important of rebounding, defense and togetherness after the Titans were outrebounded 39-23 in a 76-59 loss to UC Riverside on Feb. 6. The Titans responded by outrebounding UC Irvine 42-32 in a 72-61 victory on Feb. 10. Burton told the Orange County Register his message to his players was “that if you were not going to block out, you weren’t going to play. We carried that right over to practice, and if they didn’t do it in practice, they were on the side running. We just had a huge emphasis on defense rebounding and moving the ball on offense—playing together.”

On The Spot: Junior F Jer'Vaughn Johnson has struggled in recent weeks, averaging 4.7 points on 5-of-17 shooting with 13 rebounds in the three games prior to Feb. 16. The Titans will need a better effort from Johnson when they play host to first-place UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 17, and they know he’s capable. Johnson had a career-high 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting with seven rebounds in an 85-80 victory over the Gauchos on Jan. 23.

Quote To Note: “Like I told them a week ago, they were in great shape—they felt pretty good after (winning at) Long Beach—and came out on the second game (of the week) and didn’t play so well. I’m looking forward to seeing if they can sustain this.”—Cal State Fullerton coach Bob Burton, to the Orange County Register, following his team’s 72-61 victory over UC Irvine.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Season Recap: Cal State Fullerton had sole possession of third place in the Big West Conference through Feb. 15 after winning road games against UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge. The Titans had won four of their last five games—three of them on the road—to improve to 7-5 as of Feb. 15. The Titans have four conference games remaining and could move up or down dramatically in the standings. They still have to play first-place UC Santa Barbara, second-place Pacific, Cal Poly and UC Davis.

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 Riverside 76, Cal State Fullerton 59
  • Cal State Fullerton 72, UC Irvine 61
  • Cal State Fullerton 113, Cal State Northridge 112

Game Preview:

  • vs. UC Santa Barbara, Wednesday, Feb. 17
  • vs. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Saturday, Feb. 20
  • at Cal Poly, Wednesday, Feb. 24
  • vs. Pacific, Thursday, March 4
  • vs. UC Davis, Saturday, March 6

In Focus: Cal State Fullerton will play host to first-place UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 17 in a rematch of a Jan. 23 game that went into overtime before the Gauchos prevailed 85-80. Junior F Jer’Vaughn Johnson had a career-high 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting for the Titans. UC Santa Barbara sophomores Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally recorded career highs of 27 and 25 points, respectively. Orlando Johnson made a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime.

Roster Report:

• Junior F Gerard Anderson was named Big West Conference Player of the Week after averaging 22 points and 8.5 rebounds in wins over UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge. Anderson scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half to lead the Titans over UC Irvine 72-61. He had a career-high 25 points in a 113-112 triple-overtime victory over Cal State Northridge. Anderson had only seven points in regulation but scored 18 over the final 15 minutes.

• Senior G Aaron Thompson was on pace to break the Big West record for 3-point shooting percentage. Thompson had made 41 of 76 (.539) from 3-point range this season and 11 of 17 (.647) over the four games prior to Feb. 15.

• Sophomore PG Jacques Streeter played 49 minutes before fouling out with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists in the triple-overtime game against Cal State Northridge.

• Sophomore F Orane Chin averaged 18.5 points and nine rebounds in two games against UC Irvine, well above his season averages of 7.5 points and 3.8 rebounds through Feb. 15. Chin had career highs of 23 points and eight rebounds in a Jan. 30 victory over the Anteaters. He had 14 points and a new career-high 10 rebounds in the Feb. 10 win over the Anteaters.