Titans Roll Against Riverside

Bryce Webster: Player of the Game

The Titan coaches and players had one day to prepare for the UCR game while the Highlanders had a full week. The Titans were coming off an emotional win over conference rival Long Beach State on Thursday so a letdown was a good possibility.

Jacques Streeter suffered a ankle injury late in the contest and was a game-time decision. UCR was the home team in a regionally televised game on Fox Sports West and a large crowd was expected.

So there was no surprise UCR was a 3 point favorite. Probably should have been more.

This is why nothing is guaranteed. Crowd was large, but mostly quiet. Streeter appeared to be fine, though it certainly wasn't one of his better games. The Titans' intensity was nearly equal to what it was against Long Beach. All this resulted in a 69-56 win for the Titans, who are now 7-7 and 2-1 in conference.

Some observations:

Eric Williams may not have been the difference but the kid can play. Two nice passes allowed Devon Peltier to shoot and make two three-pointers and an alley-oop pass to Gerard Anderson made for the best highlight dunk of the evening. He also had a steal. That was the best four minutes of basketball I have seen in awhile. I am officially sold on the kid. Great size for a point guard and great composure. I want to see more.

The top scorer and rebounder for the Titans was double-double performer Aaron Thompson (17 points, 10 boards). The senior is back to playing at a high level. He struggled heading into conference play but he appears to have found his way again. A solid, all-round game, great defense and some tough rebounds in traffic.

Gerard Anderson picked up where he left off on Thursday with 11 points and 4 rebounds in the first half. He would cool off in the second but he is a lock for Big West Player of the Week. When he has three turnovers or less and stays out of foul trouble, the Titans will compete with anyone. His totals this week: 37 points, including 3 highlight reel dunks, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and a monster block.

One of the best performances of the night and TitanCentral.com's Player of the Game, was Bryce Webster. When I have to actually look up to a Titan player, he is going to get some favoritism, but none was needed in this game. Perfect from the floor (4-4) and the free throw line (5-5), Webster also stayed out of foul trouble and logged 34 very productive minutes, one less than Thursday night. He just keeps getting stronger each game. You may not see the emotion on his sleeve but the Big Fella plays with heart.

And I would be remiss in not mentioning Peltier's four key long-range bombs. I said in the last report that he had the potential to explode and tonight was a great start. He too was perfect from the floor (4-4, 2-2) and was very active on both sides of the ball. Good to see his hard work pay off but he needs to continue this progress if the Titans are going to continue winning games.

Jer'Vaughn Johnson is working hard, no doubt about that. His defense has been pretty darn good when you consider he and Gerard have split time covering the last two opponents' best players. Kyle Austin is the real deal and a certain All-Conference first teamer. Johnson more than held his own.

Offensively, Johnson is struggling. Not to sound like a broken record but he really needs to learn to finish those chip-ins. He also needs to make better decisions. For example, take the wide open 10-12 footer instead of forcing it down low into a triple team which will no doubt lead to a turnover or blocked shot. That said, once he figures it out, watch out in a big way.

Orane Chin showed a lot more energy last night but he is still struggling with his shot. His second consecutive 0-3 (0-2 on 3FG) performance. With Gerard playing so well Chin is logging most of his minutes at the four which is likely affecting his game. He has a great future here so once he works it all out, things will start going his way.

Overall, easily one of the better games of the year for the Titans. They come home next week for games against Cal Poly SLO and CSUN, two very winnable games. They don't need to play their best but they do need to keep staying positive and keep playing with that sense of urgency.

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