Preview: Titans vs. Gauchos

Fullerton, Calif. -- Cal State Fullerton (10-4) hosts UC Santa Barbara (12-4) Saturday night at 6 o'clock in a crucial Big West Conference men's basketball game which has the Titans favored by 5 points.

DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 12th, 6:05 p.m. (pst)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Titan Gym (3,500) -- Fullerton, California. Television: None. Home Record: UCSB 7-1, CSF 6-1. Away Record: UCSB 3-3, CSF 3-3. Neutral Record: UCSB 2-0, CSF 1-0. Conference Record: UCSB 1-2, CSF 3-0. Series Record: UC Santa Barbara leads, 32-31.

GAME NOTES: The Cal State Fullerton Titans try to remain perfect in Big West Conference play tonight, as they square off against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. The Titans enter the tilt riding a three-game win streak, with all three victories coming in conference play. The team was most recently in action on Thursday, when it notched a 78-64 triumph over Cal Poly. It was the sixth win in seven home games this season for CSF, which improved to 10-4 overall. As for UCSB, it kicked off a three-game road swing on Thursday, dropping a 66-63 decision at UC Irvine. It was the second loss in a row, marking the team's first losing streak of the season. Despite the 1-2 start in league play, the Gauchos have enjoyed a solid campaign up to this point, posting a 12-4 overall ledger. UCSB owns a narrow 32-31 edge in the all-time series with CSF and the two teams split last season's series.

The Gauchos have done a solid job at the offensive end of the court this season, as they are averaging 72.0 ppg behind 45.5 percent shooting from the floor and an impressive 42.1 percent from long range. Alex Harris is one of the elite scorers in the BWC, as he averages 21.7 ppg on the strength of 52.8 percent shooting from three-point land. Chris Devine ranks second on the team in both scoring (13.4 ppg) and rebounding (5.5 rpg), while James Powell chips in with 10.6 ppg. In the team's last game, UCSB lost the battle on the boards, 35-26, and it allowed UC Irvine to shoot 49.1 percent from the floor in a three-point loss. The Gauchos kept the game tight by knocking down 10-of-21 three-pointers, but it wasn't enough in the end. Harris paced the team in defeat with 15 points.

The Titans are one of the premier scoring teams in the nation and they enter this game averaging a healthy 83.3 ppg behind an efficient 48.1 percent shooting from the floor and an equally as good 43.3 percent from long distance. Josh Akognon is an elite scorer and three-point shooter and he tops the roster with 20.8 ppg on 43.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Frank Robinson places second on the squad on in scoring (15.8 ppg) as well as rebounding (6.5 rpg), while Scott Cutley puts forth 13.2 ppg and a team-high 6.9 rpg. Marcus Crenshaw is hitting on 43.8 percent of his attempts from downtown and he rounds out the double-figure scorers with 10.4 ppg. In the squad's prior contest, Akognon nailed 5-of-13 three-point tries and he finished with 21 points in a 78-64 triumph over Cal Poly. Cutley and Robinson combined for 23 points and 15 rebounds for CSF, which sank 14-of-30 shots from long distance in the win.

The Titans are clicking on all cylinders right now and with another big offensive showing, they should be able to post the victory against a tough UCSB club tonight.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 79, UC Santa Barbara 73