FACTS & STATS: Site: The Matadome (1,600) -- Northridge, California. Television: None. Home Record: Fullerton 7-1, CS-Northridge 3-4. Away Record: Fullerton 4-4, CS-Northridge 2-8. Neutral Record: Fullerton 1-1, CS-Northridge 0-0. Conference Record: Fullerton 4-2, CS-Northridge 2-5. Series Record: Cal State Fullerton leads, 36-28.
GAME NOTES: Fullerton's season has been defined by a couple of noteworthy streaks, highlighted by a seven-game win streak in December, which was book-ended by a pair of three-game losing streaks. The Titans are now winners of back-to-back games, the most recent of which was a 92-84 shootout victory over UC Irvine last Saturday.
CS-Northridge has had a forgettable season, winning back-to-back games just once thus far. The Matadors are losers of four of their last five, with their most recent defeat coming in a 100-54 rout at the hands of Cal Poly last Saturday.
Fullerton holds a 36-28 advantage in the all-time series with Northridge, but the Matadors swept the three meetings last season, including a 75-54 win in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big West Conference Tournament.
Fullerton has the Big West's top scoring offense, netting 77.8 ppg, and the team put its high-powered attack on display in the recent win over UC Irvine. The Titans shot 51.9 percent from the field, including 13-of-20 from three- point range, while hitting 25-of-33 free-throws. Fullerton was led by a monster performance from Omondi Amoke, who notched a double-double with career-highs 23 points and 17 rebounds. D.J. Seeley tallied 27 points and Kwame Vaughn added 25 points in the win. Seeley (16.2 ppg) and Vaughn (16 ppg) have been potent scorers all year long, ranking fourth and fifth in the Big West in scoring, respectively. Both are quality three-point shooters as well, connecting on better than 41 percent of their shots from beyond the arc. Isiah Umpig (12.6 ppg) and Amoke (12.1 ppg) round out the potent Titan attack. Amoke is also second in the conference in rebounding at 8.9 rpg and Fullerton is a great rebounding team overall, ranking first in rebounding margin at plus-8.0 rpg.
In addition to giving up 100 point to Cal Poly, CS-Northridge shot an abysmal 23.1 percent from the field in the demoralizing setback. The Matadors only managed 54 points thanks to a 30-of-36 effort from the free-throw line. Michael Lizarraga was the lone bright spot in the loss, contributing season- highs of 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Matadors are led on the year by talented freshman Stephan Hicks, who averages 15.9 ppg and 7.2 rpg. Hicks scored just eight points in last Saturday's loss on 1-of-8 shooting however, marking the first time in his young career that he has failed to score in double figures. Northridge's next highest scorers, Aqeel Quinn and Josh Greene, both average 9.2 ppg but each has had his difficulties finding the bottom of the net as neither connects on better than 32 percent of his total shots. The Matadors take good care of the basketball, ranking first in the conference in turnover margin (plus-2.94).
Fullerton's high-scoring offensive attack paired with CS-Northridge's porous defense means bad news for the Matadors. Expect the Titans to cruise and continue to climb the Big West ladder.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 84, CS-Northridge 69