Preview: Cal State Fullerton vs. UC Davis

The UC Davis Aggies and the Cal State Fullerton Titans open Big West Conference play tonight in a showdown at Titan Gym.

UC Davis (5-7) at Cal State Fullerton (4-8)

DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 28th, 7:05 p.m. (pt)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Titan Gym (4,000) -- Fullerton, California. Television: none. Home Record: UC Davis 4-1, Cal State Fullerton 3-1. Away Record: UC Davis 1-4, Cal State Fullerton 1-5. Neutral Record: UC Davis 0-2, Cal State Fullerton 0-2. Conference Record: UC Davis 0-0, Cal State Fullerton 0-0. Series Record: Cal State Fullerton leads, 9-5.

GAME NOTES: The Aggies enter Big West play after a seven-day lag between games. They last played in a Dec. 21st victory over Southern Utah. The Aggies had lost to UCLA and North Dakota State in succession before the win. They are 4-1 at home, but have managed just one win on the road.

The Titans have struggled with consistency this year. They have not strung together a run of consecutive victories this entire season, sandwiching all four of their wins between a pair of losses. The team's chances in tonight's matchup, though, are heightened by its 3-1 record in Titan Gym thus far.

Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series 9-5, but UC Davis defeated the Titans three times last season, with the most recent win coming in the quarterfinals of the Big West Tournament.

Four Aggies scored in double figures in the team's 74-65 win over Southern Utah. Eddie Miller led all scorers with 20 points, while Ryan Sypkens came off the bench to score 16 points, Joe Harden scored 15 points and ripped down seven rebounds and Mark Payne finished with 12 points. Over the last three games UC Davis has had just nine players on its active roster, as Todd Lowenthal, who started the first eight games of the season, has missed the last four games with a back injury and Ryan Howley has missed the last three games with an ankle injury. Harden leads the team in both scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg) this season, while Payne averages a solid 12.8 ppg and has dished out a team-high 43 assists against just 26 turnovers. The Aggies are mainly a perimeter oriented team. They knock down 7.3 three- pointers per game, but are outrebounded by 3.3 rpg.

Cal State Fullerton most recently played on Dec. 22 in a 71-57 loss to Montana. The loss broke a streak of 13 consecutive non-conference home wins for the Titans. The streak appeared primed to continue early in the contest, as Cal State Fullerton held an early 16-4 lead. Montana outscored the Titans 31-8 over the rest of the first half, however, to earn the eventual win. Jer'Vaugh Johnson was the only Cal State Fullerton starter to reach double figures, as he finished with 15 points. Andre Hardy made 3-of-6 attempts from the field and scored 11 points in a reserve roll. Hardy made his season debut in the loss after being sidelined with a hip injury and is expected to start tonight. He should help to improve an offensive unit which averages 71.2 ppg and has dished out 13.7 apg. It is not the Cal State Fullerton offense that needs work, however, but rather the defense, which allows 73.8 ppg.

Cal State Fullerton's prospects this year have been hurt by the transfer of guard Jacques Streeter and the loss of center Bryce Webster, who left the team. The addition of Hardy should help, but the overall lineup will have trouble competing against UC Davis and the Big West as a whole.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Davis 75, Cal State Fullerton 65