DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 15th, 7:05 p.m. (PT).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Titan Gym (4,000) -- Fullerton, California. Television: None. Home Record: UC Davis 3-3, Fullerton 4-1. Away Record: UC Davis 1-6, Fullerton 3-4. Neutral Record: UC Davis 2-1, Fullerton 1-3. Conference Record: UC Davis 1-2, Fullerton 2-2. Series Record: Cal State Fullerton leads, 8-1.
GAME NOTES: The Cal State Fullerton Titans shoot for their first three-game win streak of the season tonight, as they host the UC Davis Aggies in Big West Conference action. On Saturday, the Titans posted a 62-58 win against UC Santa Barbara to cap a three-game road trip, marking the third time this season the team has tallied back-to-back wins. The victory, which was on the heels of an 86-82 triumph against Cal Poly, moved Fullerton to an even 8-8 on the season and 2-2 in conference. As for the Aggies, they've managed to win two games in a row just once this season versus the likes of Cal State Bakersfield and The Citadel, and yet the squad is still much improved. Last season, the Aggies had a total of nine wins over the entire campaign and already they have six with 13 games remaining in the regular season. On Saturday, the team took a step back with an 86-78 loss to Long Beach State at home, giving the group two defeats in the last three outings. Heading into tonight's matchup, the Titans have won all but one of the previous nine meetings against UC Davis.
Despite shooting an impressive 55.2 percent from the field on Saturday, the Aggies still landed in the loss column versus Long Beach State. Mark Payne had a huge game for UC Davis with 22 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and a pair of steals, all while shooting 10-of-13 from the floor in the setback. Vince Oliver dropped in 19 points, Joe Harden tallied 14 and Dominic Calegari another 13 points in the losing effort for the Aggies. The 22 points for Payne were a season high for the entire team and still he's averaging just 11.7 ppg for the group after starting all 14 games in which he has played. At the top of the scoring list for the Aggies is Harden with his 15.0 ppg, although he is shooting just 38.5 percent from the field and 24.1 percent beyond the arc. Harden's struggles on the perimeter are understandable, considering he feels most comfortable in the paint where he leads the unit with his 7.4 rpg.
Trailing by seven points at the break, the Titans stormed back with an aggressive defense versus Santa Barbara that permitted the Gauchos a mere 21 points in the second half of the four-point decision on Saturday. Josh Akognon was back to his old self by firing up 22 field goal attempts, hitting on 10 as he tallied a game-high 29 points as the only double-digit scorer on the squad. Akognon, who finished 5-of-11 from three-point range, tallied 20 points in the second half alone. Since posting a total of just 20 points in the two games versus Northridge and UC Irvine, Akognon is back to his usual rhythm with 55 points in his last two outings. One of the top scorers in the nation, Akognon is posting 24 ppg this season on just 39.2 percent shooting from the field, already having made as many field goals (120-of-306) than any of his teammates has even taken through 16 games. Akognon is also feasting at the free-throw line (80-of-89) to help push the team to 72 percent at the stripe.
Every once in a while Akognon can throw a clunker into his schedule, but playing at home against a team like UC Davis shouldn't result in another one tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 78, UC Davis 64