This story originally published on The Sports Network.
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 23rd, 5:05 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Titan Gym (3,500) -- Fullerton, California. Television: Local. Home Record: SJSU 1-2, Fullerton 5-0. Away Record: SJSU 0-6, Fullerton 3-2. Neutral Record: SJSU 0-1, Fullerton 0-0. Conference Record: SJSU 0-0, Fullerton 0-0. Series Record: Cal State Fullerton leads, 25-24.
GAME NOTES: A couple of California programs heading in vastly different directions hit the floor at Titan Gym this afternoon, as Cal State Fullerton plays host to the San Jose State Spartans in non-conference action. On Wednesday night, the Titans defeated the Ragin' Cajuns of UL-Lafayette at home by a score of 85-49, marking the team's third straight victory and the fourth in the last five outings. As a result, Fullerton is now 8-2 on the season and a perfect 5-0 in its own building, which is worlds away from where the Spartans are at the moment. On Sunday, SJSU was at home against Long Beach State, a team from the Big West Conference just like Fullerton, and was defeated by the 49ers in a 76-67 final. The loss was the third in a row for the Spartans, who at this point have just a single win against Cal Poly to show for their efforts. Heading into last year's meeting the series between the squads was all tied up at 24-24, but thanks to a 67-59 victory by Fullerton the Titans have jumped ahead by a game now.
Menelik Barbary continued his scoring assault off the bench against Long Beach State last weekend when he tallied 18 points and pulled down five rebounds, but without much support from the rest of his teammates the Spartans were again doomed to lose. Devonte Thomas knocked down 7-of-9 shots from the floor and finished with 15 points, adding a team-high 10 rebounds to complete the double- double. Jamon Hill recorded 12 points and five assists before fouling out, but he was also guilty of five of the team's 20 turnovers. One of only two players to have started all 10 games for SJSU thus far, Tim Pierce remains the top scorer for the group with his 12.4 ppg, despite shooting a pitiful 33.3 percent from the field. Barbary checks in with 11.2 ppg and a team-high 6.1 rpg, but with Hill (10.1 ppg) being the only other double-digit scorer for the group it should not come as a surprise that they are posting just 63 ppg and shooting a collective 37.7 percent from the field to rank among the worst in the nation.
At one point in the second half the Titans were ahead by a mind-boggling 41 points over UL-Lafayette, eventually claiming the 36-point decision at home. In addition to forcing 23 turnovers and winning the battle of the boards, 47-35, Fullerton also limited the visitors to a mere 3-of-17 shooting from three-point range. Justin Burns led four players in double figures as he dropped in 16 points, followed by Frank Robinson and Marcus Crenshaw with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Bobby Brown recorded a double-double with his 11 points and a game-high 10 assists as well. The 10 dishes for Brown were a bit of an anomaly, considering he has a total of 29 assists now over his seven games. However, his scoring has not been as sporadic as he leads the program with 21 ppg thanks to an amazing 51.9 percent shooting from three-point range. Burns is in for 11.8 ppg and is responsible for 7.1 rpg, but Scott Cutley is coming on strong with 15.0 ppg and 8.8 rpg, despite having seen action in only six outings thus far. Fullerton remains one of the top scoring programs in the country with 85.6 ppg.
Without getting into much detail, the Spartans have little or no chance of keeping up with Cal State Fullerton in this matchup. In fact, SJSU had better be careful that it doesn't give up triple digits to the home team today.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 97, San Jose State 66