DATE & TIME: Monday, January 7th, 10:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Student Rec. Center (3,168) -- Riverside, California. Television: None. Home Record: CSF 5-1, UCR 3-1. Away Record: CSF 2-3, UCR 0-9. Neutral Record: CSF 1-0, UCR 0-0. Conference Record: CSF 1-0, UCR 0-2. Series Record: Cal State Fullerton leads, 15-14.
GAME NOTES: The UC Riverside Highlanders begin a three-game homestand tonight, as they host the Cal State Fullerton Titans in Big West Conference play at the Student Recreation Center Gym. The Highlanders have had a rough start to the season, as they have won just three of their first 13 games. The team is currently riding a four-game losing streak that includes a 58-54 setback at UC Davis on Friday. The loss dropped UCR to 0-2 in league play, but the team now returns home, where it has gone a solid 3-1 thus far. As for CSF, it kicked off the BWC portion of its schedule with a 93-83 triumph over UC Irvine on Friday. It was the second win in the past three games by the Titans, who improved to 8-4 overall. The team now hits the road, where it has won twice in five attempts. CSF owns a small 15-14 edge in the all-time series against UCR, with the teams splitting a pair of meetings a season ago.
The Titans are one of the most explosive teams around, as they are averaging a healthy 84.2 ppg behind an a solid 48.0 percent shooting from the field and an equally as good 43.3 percent from three-point range. Josh Akognon currently leads the team in scoring with a hardy 20.0 ppg and he is knocking down 42.5 percent of his tries from downtown. Frank Robinson ranks second on the team in both scoring (16.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 rpg), while Scott Cutley contributes 13.6 ppg and a team-high 6.8 rpg. Marcus Crenshaw is making good on 45.1 percent to his attempts from long range and he rounds out the double- digit scorers at 10.9 ppg. In the team's last game, Akognon nailed 3-of-5 three pointers and he finished with 22 points in a triumph over UC Irvine. Robinson notched a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Crenshaw had 16 points on 4-of-5 three-point field goals. Cutley chipped in with 10 points for CSF, which shot a scorching 61.5 percent from the field, including a 13-of-21 effort from long distance.
The Highlanders have struggled at the offensive end of the court this season, as they are netting a mere 57.1 ppg and shooting a modest 41.1 percent from the floor. Larry Cunningham leads the team in scoring with 15.1 ppg and he is the only player on the roster currently averaging in double figures. In the squad's previous outing, UCR made just 2-of-10 shots from long range and only 8-of-15 at the foul line, as it suffered a four-point loss at UC Davis. The team also turned the ball over 15 times and that isn't really surprising considering the Highlanders are averaging 16.8 miscues per game on the season. Sean Cunningham however, was a bright spot in the loss, as he tallied 22 points and dished out four helpers.
CSF simply has too many weapons and too much firepower for UCR to deal with, so expect the Titans to come out on top in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 76, UC Riverside 69