Cal-State Fullerton will make its 2022 NCAA Tournament debut in Greenville, S.C., looking to make history. The Titans seek their first NCAA Tournament victory since 1978, which would end the career of legendary Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Fullerton’s coach Dedrique Taylor became the first coach in the school’s history to take the Titans to the Big Dance multiple times. His Titans surpassed preseason expectations, as Fullerton was slated to finish seventh in the Big West Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll and eighth in the conference media poll.
Cal-State Fullerton earned the automatic bid out of the Big West, clinching their second appearance in the last four NCAA Tournaments.
The Titans cruised to a quarterfinal victory over UC Davis 73-55. Damari Milstead tallied 24 points, while big man E.J. Anosike recorded an impressive double-double with 16 points and 20 rebounds.
Damari Milstead led the Titans once again in the Big West semifinals, tallying 18 points in the 58-46 victory over Hawaii. Anosike asserted his presence in the paint, recording 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Fullerton’s opponent, Long Beach State, entered the Big West tournament as the No. 1 seed and defeated the Titans 71-61 in their only matchup of the season.
Anosike paced the Titans’ attack in the regular season, averaging 15.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest. These marks ranked first among the Fullerton roster.
The East Orange, N.J., native earned All-Big West First Team honors, while fellow senior Damari Milstead (12.9 PPG, 2 SPG) earned All-Big West Second Team Honors. Milstead paced the Big West in steals, tallying 61 prior to the NCAA Tournament.
Milstead’s efforts helped the Titans lead the the Big West in steals with 7.26 per game.
Cal-State Fullerton currently ranks 25th in the country in free-throw percentage, converting on 76.3 percent of their attempts.
As Cal-State Fullerton heads into tonight’s tilt against the Blue Devils, the Titans understand the group effort needed to accomplish the task at hand.
“Five individuals can turn into a fist,” Anosike said. “When you’re a fist, you can deliver a hard punch. We realize that and go into the Tournament with that mentality.”
How to Watch
Matchup: Cal-State Fullerton vs. Duke
Date and Time: Friday, March 18 at 7:10 p.m. ET
Location: Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, S.C.
DraftKings Line: Duke -18.5, O/U 145.5
As much as Taylor’s squad wants to pull of the improbable, it will be a one-and-done appearance for the Titans in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils will flex their muscles and use their athleticism to cruise to an 84-61 victory in Greenville.