DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 31, 7:05 p.m. (pt)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Titan Gym (4,000) -- Fullerton, California. Television: None. Home Record: Northridge 4-4, Fullerton 5-3. Away Record: Northridge 3-7, Fullerton 4-6. Neutral Record: Northridge 3-0, Fullerton 2-0. Conference Record: Northridge 1-8, Fullerton 4-4. Series Record: Cal State Fullerton leads, 38-29.
GAME NOTES: This will be the 68th meeting in history and second of the season between these schools. Fullerton handled the Matadors, 105-86, the first time these Golden State rivals clashed on Jan. 5 to extend its all-time series lead to 38-29. D.J. Seeley paced the Titans in the contest, as he torched Northridge for a career-high 37 points. Fullerton hit 58.6 percent of its field goal tries including 12-of-23 from 3-point range in the game and the Matadors were unable to keep up after being limited to 43.0 percent shooting.
Things have not improved for Northridge since its loss to CSF on Jan. 5. The Matadors suffered their eighth loss in nine games on Saturday when they fell, 75-64, at Cal Poly. In the defeat, Trevone Williams had 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench, Stephen Maxwell and Josh Greene each tallied 14 points, and Landon Drew scored 10 points and came an assist shy of a double- double. Northridge fell to 10-11 overall and a league-worst 1-8 Big West standing.
Stephan Hicks did not bring his A-game into the team's last outing, as he finished 3-of-9 from the field to generate only six points. Hicks is leading Northridge in scoring (16.8) and steals (2.0), while Maxwell chips in 14.7 points and 8.1 boards per tilt. Greene is generating 12.7 points and 3.8 assists per contest to round out an offensively strong trio that has helped the Matadors to the second best scoring mark (76.5) and top steals average (9.3) in the Big West. The Matadors' ability to fill it up has been neutralized by their weak approach on the defensive end that has allowed opponents to score 75.0 ppg.
The Titans are also searching for answers coming into this one. They lost for the third time in four games as they were beat, 71-67, by Pacific on Saturday. Fullerton enters with an 11-9 standing, but it is sitting at the .500 mark in Big West action. Seeley finished with 23 points, seven boards, and two blocks in the loss to the Tigers. Alex Harris chimed in with 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting and Kwame Vaughn went 4-of-16 from the floor to post 13 points which he accompanied with nine rebounds.
Despite being held to 41.8 percent shooting by Pacific, the Titans have shown they can quickly light up the scoreboard on multiple occasions and come into this game ranked third in the nation with 82.1 points per game on 48.9 percent shooting from the field, which is the 12th highest rate among Division I programs. Although Fullerton is the only team averaging more points than Northridge in the Big West, it is also the only squad more generous to its opposition with a league worst scoring defense of 75.9 ppg.
The up-tempo philosophy has helped Seeley (19.2) and Vaughn (17.8) rank second and third, respectively, on the Big West's scoring leaderboard. Both are also dishing out 4.0 assists per tilt, while Yeager adds 15.0 ppg (ninth in Big West) to the mix. Vaughn has been an example of consistency with double-digit performances in all but one game this season. Sammy Yeager, the Big West's second-best 3-point shooter in terms of percentage, is also one of the nation's best as his .449 mark from 3-point range had him ranked ninth among Division I players.
Although the Titans are now holding the homecourt advantage in this one after taking care of business in Northridge, it will be very difficult for them to duplicate their brilliant shooting exhibition they displayed at The Matadome. Northridge may not earn a decision, but it will at the very least be more competitive this time around.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 85, Cal State Northridge 78