FACTS & STATS: Site: Reese Court (6,000) -- Cheney, Washington. Television: None. Home Record: Fullerton 1-0, EWU 0-0. Away Record: Fullerton 0-2, EWU 0-4. Neutral Record: Fullerton 2-0, EWU 1-1. Conference Record: Fullerton 0-0, EWU 0-0. Series Record: Cal State Fullerton leads, 4-1.
GAMES NOTES: With a 106-60 rout of San Diego Christian in its first home game of the season, Cal State Fullerton moved to 3-2 on the season after an 0-2 start. The two losses came on the road versus Stanford (81-68) and Nevada (80-77), while the other two wins came against Southern Utah (112-69) and Green Bay (93-82) as part of the World Vision Classic. The Titans will remain in the Evergreen State for their next contest against Washington.
The early season has not been kind to East Washington, which has just one win in six tries. The Eagles played their first half dozen bouts away from home, and they will enjoy the comforts of Reese Court in five of its six games before the start of the New Year.
These two teams matched up last season with Fullerton securing a 91-76 win at home to push its all-time series lead to 4-1. EWU's lone win in the series came at home in a 79-68 overtime triumph back in 2004.
Cal State Fullerton breezed to victory against NAIA foe San Diego Christian. The Titans connected on 56.9 percent of their field goal attempts, knocking down 13 3-pointers along the way. The Titans also won the battle on the boards (50-37) and assisted on 25 of 41 field goals. Seven different players scored in double figures, including all five starters, led by Jared Brandon with 16 points.
It hasn't just been against lower-level competition that Cal State Fullerton has been putting up big numbers. In fact, the Titans are the highest scoring team in the nation (91.2 ppg) at this point in the season while ranking second in the country in field goal percentage (.538). Ball movement is a vital aspect of Bob Burton's offensive game plan, and the Titans have excelled in that area by racking up the most assists in the nation (19.8 apg). D.J. Seeley (18.2 ppg, 4.8 apg) may not be the top scorer but he is netting 50.9 percent of his field goal attempts and has been the primary ball-handler on a team filled with skilled passers. Kwame Vaughn (18.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.8 apg) and Sammy Yeager (17.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.4 apg) are also turning in prolific scoring numbers early on.
Eastern Washington suffered an 89-74 loss to Santa Clara on the road its last time out. In that contest, the Eagles shot a meager 41.7 percent from the field but did hit 12 3-pointers. At the other end however, the Broncos shot 50.8 percent from the field and matched the Eagles' output from beyond the arc. EWU did collect more rebounds (39-29) in the losing effort. Collin Chiverton was the Eagles' go-to scorer with 19 points on the strength of four treys.
Despite shooting just 39.7 percent from the floor this season, Eastern Washington has managed to score a healthy 74.3 points per game. However, that type of offensive production has been vastly overshadowed by the team's porous defensive effort. Opposing teams are averaging 85.7 ppg and shooting 49.2 percent from the field against the Eagles. The team's scoring yield is the worst in the nation. Justin Crosgile (14.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 6.5 apg) provides the Eagles with a nice counter at the point guard position to Seeley. Venky Jois (12.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg) and Martin Seiferth (10.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) are competent scorers and rebounders, while Chiverton (11.0 ppg) can clearly score when called upon.
Having the best scoring team in the country face the worst defensive team is not exactly a recipe for success for Eastern Washington, even if it is playing at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 92, Eastern Washington 82