DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 18th, 10:05 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Titan Gym (4,000) -- Fullerton, California. Television: None. Home Record: LBSU 8-4, Fullerton 6-4. Away Record: LBSU 4-7, Fullerton 6-5. Neutral Record: LBSU 0-0, Fullerton 1-3. Conference Record: LBSU 7-4, Fullerton 7-6. Series Record: Long Beach State leads, 57-39.
GAME NOTES: Two of the teams that are still fighting for top billing in the Big West Conference square off tonight, as the Cal State Fullerton Titans welcome the Long Beach State 49ers to Titan Gym. Heading into the week, the Titans were fourth in the Big West standings with a record of 7-6, trailing LBSU which has the same number of wins by two fewer setbacks to this point in the campaign. On Saturday night, Fullerton tied a season high with a 106-point effort against UC Davis on the road, reeling in the 11-point victory to snap a two-game slide. There was no rest for the weary in the most recent game for LBSU as the team bowed to UC Riverside in double overtime on the road, 73-70. Just four days earlier, the team had to go to double overtime to secure a slim 81-80 win versus Pacific at home. With the 61-60 win in the first meeting of the season back on January 29th, Fullerton now trails in the all-time series with the Beach by a count of 57-39.
Larry Anderson hit 10-of-17 shots from the field and finished with a team-best 25 points before fouling out against UC Riverside last week. Anderson also cleared six rebounds, but that barely made up for his five turnovers, the team suffering 20 miscues overall. Stephan Gilling dropped in 14 points and T.J. Robinson chipped in with 13 points and seven rebounds for the visitors. Despite having missed the last two games, Donovan Morris is still listed as the top scorer for the Beach with his 15.6 ppg, while Gilling (10.3 ppg), Anderson (10.3 ppg) and Robinson (10.2 ppg) are the ones who are trying to make it work for LBSU of late. As a unit, the Beach is scoring a modest 71.3 points per game, despite converting just 65.6 percent at the free-throw line.
Josh Akognon posted a team-best 29 points on 7-of-15 shooting behind the three-point line and paced five players in double figures for the 49ers as they matched their season high for points scored versus UC Davis. Aaron Thompson checked in with 19 points, Gerard Anderson tallied 18 points and nine rebounds off the bench, followed by Marcio Lassiter and Jacques Streeter with 15 and 11 points, respectively, the latter handing out nine of the team's 20 assists. As has been the case since he first stepped onto the floor this season, the offense for Fullerton is destined to flow through Akognon so that he can come up with his 23.2 ppg. What's most remarkable about Akognon's shot selection is that he has already unloaded more shots from three-point range (98-of-280) than any one else on the team has tried from the floor overall to this point in the campaign. Akognon is a key component to the team's 74.5 ppg this season, but all of his long-distance misses have also played into the hands of opponents who are coming up with 74.7 ppg at the moment.
Akognon will get his points one way or another for the Titans, so really it is a case of how the rest of his teammates will respond around him. Expect another strong offensive burst by Fullerton to bring home a crucial win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 85, Long Beach State 80