Basketball Preview: Titans @ CP-SLO

The Cal State Fullerton Titans (6-10, 2-2) and the Cal Poly SLO Mustangs (6-8, 2-1) meet tonight in a Big West Conference clash at Mott Gymnasium.

DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 13th, 7:00 p.m. (pt)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Mott Gymnasium (3,032) -- San Luis Obispo, California. Television: none. Home Record: Cal State Fullerton 4-2, Cal Poly SLO 2-2. Away Record: Cal State Fullerton 2-6, Cal Poly SLO 4-6. Neutral Record: Cal State Fullerton 0-2, Cal Poly SLO 0-0. Conference Record: Cal State Fullerton 2-2, Cal Poly SLO 2-1. Series Record: Cal Poly SLO leads, 29-23.

GAME NOTES: Cal State Fullerton last played on Jan, 8th, earning an 83-77 overtime victory over UC Riverside. The win evened the Titans' BWC record at 2-2. They have recorded just a 2-8 record away from home this season.

The Mustangs have played just one home game in the last 43 days. They will return to the confines of Mott Gym tonight, where they have posted a 2-2 record on the season. The Mustangs currently boast a two game win streak after victories over Pacific and UC Davis. They sit at 2-1 in BWC play.

With respect to the all-time series, Cal Poly SLO leads, 29-23, although Cal State Fullerton has won five of the last six meetings, including four in a row in Mott Gym.

Cal State Fullerton nearly melted down in the final minutes of regulation against UC Riverside. With the Titans holding a two-point lead and the ball with 2.1 seconds left Andre Hardy called a timeout after failing to find an open teammate on an inbounds play. Hardy neglected to realize that the Titans were out of timeouts. UC Riverside calmly sunk the technical free throws to send the game into overtime. Undaunted, Cal State Fullerton, led by Devon Peltier, scored 10 points in the extra frame to pull away for the win. Peltier scored six of his team-high 21 points in the extra session, as all five starters scored in double figures. Jer'Vaugh Johnson has a monster game, posting a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Hardy played well, aside from the crucial mind lapse, scoring 14 points and ripping down 10 rebounds. Hardy (15.3 ppg) has been the team's top scorer since returning from a suspension. He is joined in double figures by Johnson and Orane Chin, who each average 14.8 ppg and Peltier, who averages 13.8 ppg. The Titans are capable on the offensive end but give up an unacceptable 74.1 ppg on 44.6 percent shooting.

The Cal Poly SLO defense has been shockingly stifling during the team's current two game win streak, allowing an average 41 points over said games. Most recently, the Mustangs held UC Davis to 31.4 percent shooting and just 16 field goals in a 48-43 win. UC Davis tallied just six assists against 16 turnovers and placed just two players in double figures. While not explosive on the offensive end, the Mustangs were efficient enough to earn the victory. Shawn Lewis led the squad with 11 points and Will Donahue added 10 points and 12 rebounds in the scrappy win. Simply put, Cal Poly SLO must play extraordinary defense in order to win games. The Mustangs score just 54.6 ppg on the season and shoot just 36.7 percent from the floor. David Hanson scores 14.9 ppg to lead team, although he shoots just 37.4 percent from the floor. The Mustangs certainly compete on the defensive end, where they allow just 57.9 ppg and 4.4 three-pointers per game. They lack depth on the interior though, and are outrebounded by 3.5 rpg.

Cal State Fullerton does not thrive on the defensive end, but the team need only be mediocre to keep the Mustangs in check. On the other end of the floor, the Titans should be able to muster enough offense to earn the victory.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 60, Cal Poly SLO 54

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