DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 7:05 p.m. (pt)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Matadome (1,600) -- Northridge, California. Television: None. Home Record: Fullerton 4-1, CSUN 4-1. Away Record: Fullerton 1-5, CSUN 2-4. Neutral Record: Fullerton 2-0, CSUN 3-0. Conference Record: Fullerton 1-1, CSUN 0-2. Series Record: Cal State Fullerton leads, 37-29.
GAME NOTES: Fullerton, which took a four-game win streak in the Hawaii game, appeared to be heading to another victory as it led by as many as 11 points with just over five minutes remaining in regulation, but the Titans took their foot off the gas and allowed the Rainbow Warriors to battle back and grab the thrilling 90-88 decision at the buzzer.
As for the Matadors, they too were caught in a close call with UC Riverside on Thursday and like Fullerton the team came out on the losing end of a 65-64 final at home. The loss was the second straight for a team that began the 2012-13 campaign with six consecutive wins, but has since won just three of eight outings.
With records dating back to the 1960-61 campaign, Fullerton shows a 37-29 advantage in the all-time series with the Matadors. The Titans won both meetings last season after dropping all three contests the year before.
It appeared as though D.J. Seeley's 3-pointer with six seconds remaining may have given the Titans new life as they tied the game against Hawaii at 88-88, but the squad simply didn't lock down well enough at the defensive end of the floor as time ran out. Kwame Vaughn scored a team-high 26 points, grabbed five rebounds, handed out five assists and made four steals but all of that wasn't enough. Seeley accounted for 22 points and eight boards, Sammy Yeager 15 points before fouling out, and Deuce Johnson another 14 points as the team used just two reserves who supplied a total of only five points. Vaughn continues to be the leading scorer for the program with his 19.5 ppg, shooting not just 51.3 percent from the field but also 44.4 percent behind the 3-point line. Seeley isn't that far behind with his 18.7 ppg, while Yeager kicks in another 14.3 ppg, which means this threesome is one of the most dominant in the Big West by far. As a group, the Titans are firing off 84.1 ppg, but as they showed two nights ago, a high-scoring offense doesn't always get the job done.
A 3-pointer by Josh Greene with 42 seconds remaining in the second half gave the Matadors a four-point lead over UCR, but from there CSUN was held scoreless and Chris Patton continued his attack for the Highlanders, culminating with a game-winning layup down the stretch. Stephen Maxwell led four players in double figures with his 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, followed by Stephan Hicks with 14 and seven boards, while Greene and Trevone Williams accounted for 13 and 10 points, respectively, for a squad that shot only 5-of-20 beyond the arc, although that was still better than Riverside which came up empty on nine tries from the perimeter. Playing a little over 30 minutes per game, Hicks paces the program in scoring with 18.1 ppg, shooting 52.7 percent beyond the arc, while Greene adds another 13.0 ppg and Maxwell 12.5 ppg as the team generates close to 80 ppg, but at the same time is allowing almost 73 ppg.
Expect a high-scoring affair if the Titans have anything to say about it. However, the heavy travel in a span of just a few days may have Fullerton gasping for air as it tries to pick up the win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 81, CS Northridge 75