DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 4th, 6:05 p.m. (pt)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Titan Gym (4,000) -- Fullerton, California. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: UCSB 7-3, Fullerton 8-1. Away Record: UCSB 5-4, Fullerton 5-5. Neutral Record: UCSB 0-0, Fullerton 1-1. Conference Record: UCSB 7-2, Fullerton 6-3. Series Record: UC Santa Barbara leads, 39-34.
GAME NOTES: Apart from a treacherous non-conference stretch where it went 1-5, UCSB has won on a fairly consistent basis this year. The Gauchos are currently winners of three in a row and five of their last six overall. Their latest triumph came in an 85-70 final versus Cal State Northridge on Thursday.
Fullerton has been even more impressive, collecting 14 wins overall -- second- most in the Big West. After losing three of their first four conference games, the Titans have answered by winning four of their last five, including an 83-61 rout of Cal Poly on Thursday.
UCSB holds the advantage in the all-time series with Fullerton, 39-34, and the Gauchos have won five of the last six meetings, including a 77-64 in the first encounter of this season back on January 5.
UCSB has the third-best scoring offense in the Big West (72.8 ppg) and is led by the league's premier scoring threat, Orlando Johnson. The senior averages 19.6 ppg on 44.4 percent shooting from the field and 37.4 percent from three- point range, and he continued his scoring onslaught in the recent win over Northridge, connecting on 10-of-20 field goal attempts to finish with 25 points. Johnson is an asset in other areas as well, as he leads the team with 3.1 apg while also notching 5.7 rpg and 1.1 bpg. James Nunnally is a competent scorer in his own right, tallying 14.8 ppg to go with his team-high 5.8 rpg. Nunnally adds 14 points in Thursday's win, a game where UCSB shot an eye- popping 55.6 percent from the field. Though their scoring defense ranks in the middle of the pack in the conference (67.4 ppg), the Gauchos allow a league- low .397 field goal percentage to their opponents.
Fullerton has an even more prolific scoring offense than USCB, averaging a conference-high 76.9 ppg on 48.4 percent shooting from the field and 39.9 percent from beyond the arc. The Titans continued their hot shooting in Thursday's win, connecting on 57.4 percent of their field goal attempts, which included a 10-of-21 showing from three-point range. D.J. Seeley poured in a career-high 28 points on a 9-of-11 shooting effort, while adding five boards, three assists and six steals to his stat line. Seeley is now fourth in the Big West in scoring (16.6 ppg) and he shoots exactly the same percentage from the field and he does from beyond the arc (.442). Kwame Vaughn isn't far off Seeley's scoring pace with 15.2 ppg and Isiah Umipig and Omondi Amoke do their fair share with 12.5 ppg apiece. Amoke also ranks first in the conference in field goal percentage (.546) and second in rebounding (8.7 rpg). Ball control is Fullerton's one glaring weakness as it has a turnover margin of -2.19, and an assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.9.
This is sure to be an exciting game with some big-time playmakers contributing to what will likely be a quick tempo. Fullerton has been nearly unbeatable at home this season, so the Titans get the nod.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: CS Fullerton 79, UC Santa Barbara 76