Remember the Titans?

Remember the Titans and what they did to us on the road last year? They slapped us with a 65-51 blowout on the road. The loss ended up costing us an outright conference championship. I'm sure Stew and the boys "Remember the Titans" all too well.

The Event: CS Fullerton vs USU

The Time: Saturday Jan. 25th 2003 7:05 P.M. MST

The Place: The Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270)

 

Utah State come into Saturday night's match up sporting a second best 5-2 conference record, 14-4 overall.  Just six wins away from the fourth straight 20+ win season for the coach Morrill and the Aggies.  Thursday night the Aggies took care of business when UCR came to town, running away with a 77-58 win over the Highlanders.  A slow start to the game gave way to a 45 point 2nd half from the Aggies.  Desmond Penigar got back on track and led all scorers with 18 pts on 7-12 shooting from the floor in 26 minutes of play.  Spencer Nelson went 5-5 from the floor in 25 minutes finishing up with 14pts and 12 rebounds, his 3rd "double-double" in the last 4 games.  Nate Harris finished with 13 pts, and Mark Brown with 10.  Still no real outside shooting from the Aggies who went 2-11 from 3 point land. 

 

The CS Fullerton basketball team walks into Logan with a 3-3 conference record, 5-11 overall.  After starting Big West play with 3 out of 4 wins, including victories at UCSB and then at home against UCI and Long Beach, the Titans have now lost 3 games in a row, at Idaho State, at home against UCR and then again last night at Idaho.  The Titans seem to have a shallow bench at times without big man Pape Sow and others injured.  Fullerton star Ralphy Holmes was back in action against Idaho and played 38 minutes scoring 16 points on 7-15 FG from the floor, 2 of which were from 3 point range. Holmes fouled out of the Idaho game late.  Only 7 players suited for the Idaho game. 

 

I interviewed long time Fullerton fan and supporter "TitanCzar". TitanCzar has a great handle on the game of basketball and is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to Titan athletics and the Big West conference.  Here is what he has to say:

 

AS: How has the team reacted to the Pape Sow situation?  The fans reaction? What steps were taken as far as discipline?

TitanCzar: "The team has basically a "circled the wagon" or "us against the world" approach.  They have come together and have played well considering all the distractions. Titan fans are basically split on the Pape issue.  Some feel he should go suspended for the whole year.  Others think that he should be allowed to play Feb 1.  Pape was suspended indefinitely by the coaching staff.  But he appealed the indefinite part of the suspension to an athletics review board and when he lost that, he appealed that appeal.  So it's in the dean of students hands now."

AS: How has the team performed with Pape out of the rotation compared to when he was playing?

TitanCzar: "The team has stepped up and picked up the slack.  Anthony Bolton has picked up his play.  Amir and Jamaal have picked up the slack on the boards."

AS: The win on the road over UCSB was looked at by most as a fluke...that was until the next game when the Titans beat UCI...how good is the team this year compared to years past?

TitanCzar: "The talent level is much better than in years past.  It's not even close.  The past couple years we had D-2 players who were slow, couldn't shoot against quicker teams and couldn't play defense.  But that talent has to come together as a team and learn to win."

AS: Sophomore guard Ralphy Holmes is putting up impressive numbers this year, tell us a little more about him, and why didn't he play in the UCR game?  Will he be playing in Logan Saturday night?

TitanCzar: "Ralphy hurt his shoulder vs Sac St back in Dec.  He toughed it out and
played and won two straight games for us, SB and UCI.  But he re injured his shoulder vs Idaho St last week and missed the UCR game.  If Ralphy plays Thursday vs Idaho then he should play vs USU on Sat. Ralphy is a basketball junkie.  He loves the game.  He's the first one at practice and the last one to leave, after shooting 100 jumpers after practice.  His energy is awesome.  The other players feed off of that."

AS: Talk about the Titan depth this year, or lack thereof, how long will the team be without Pape?

TitanCzar: "The final decision with Pape should be announced within a week.  It's time to get this thing settled once and for all.  As for our depth with only 8 healthy players we have none especially in the post.  Our tallest player is 6'7."

AS: What are the Fullerton strengths and weaknesses this year?

TitanCzar: "Weaknesses: defense: a lot of teams shoot much better than their season average when playing CSF.  Rebounding without Pape we got killed on the boards.  Outside shooting. Strengths: Our athleticism.  This is the best collection of athletes we've had at CSF in a long time. A good point guard in Zachee Smith.  Our best point guard in a long time.  Ralphy Holmes.  Even when playing hurt, he's one of the top players in the BW."

AS: How does Fullerton match up at each position against the Aggies?

TitanCzar: "I've only see USU play about 12 mins this season.  I went to the UCI game but got their late about 7 mins left in the game.  So I can't really say how we will match up.  But nobody on our team will be able to handle Penigar.  He's should go for 25 and 10 easy.  We don't have somebody to match up with him.  We play a zone but I've see Penigar destroy zones before. I think how well CSF defends Johnson #5 will determine how well the Titans do vs USU.  I think Jamaal and Amir will do a good job keeping him from scoring and rebounding.  I would let Penigar score all the points but if we stop Johnson…That guard #20? who hit that 3 pointer to tie the game vs UCI will be a good match up for Derrick Andrews.  But I don't think USU will be able to handle Ralphy if he's close to healthy.  He's too strong and has height advantage over the smaller USU guards.  Though I expect Butler to guard Ralphy and I think Ralphy is quicker than Butler.  Zachee vs your point guard is going to be a good battle too.  Zachee is quick and sees the floor well."

AS: How did the team feel about getting off to such a great conference start?  Has it made any noticeable difference in the fans opinion of the team?

TitanCzar: The team felt great about the start.  Though last week losing both games
(one non conference, the other to UCR) kind of put a damper on things.  CSF fans are frontrunners.  If the team is doing well or puts together a string of wins, fans come out."

AS: If Fullerton were to win the Big West Tournament this year, what seed would you get in the Big Dance? Who would you be playing in the 1st round?

TitanCzar: "At best we would be a 14 seed.  Playing teams like Duke who will finish
second in the ACC or whoever finishes second in the Big 10, Big 12 or Big East."

 

Thanks for the great interview TitanCzar!

 

Go Aggies!!!


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