DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 9th, 4:00 p.m. (PT).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Student Rec. Center (3,168) -- Riverside, California. Television: FSN West. Home Record: Fullerton 5-1, UCR 6-1. Away Record: Fullerton 1-5, UCR 1-6. Neutral Record: Fullerton 0-1, UCR 0-0. Conference Record: Fullerton 1-1, UCR 1-1. Series Record: Cal State Fullerton leads, 19-15.
GAME NOTES: The Cal State Fullerton Titans make a quick turn-around today as they face off against the Highlanders of UC Riverside in a Big West Conference bout at the Student Rec. Center.
The Titans were just in action two nights ago versus Long Beach State and used that opportunity to pick up their first league win of the season with an 85-75 final. The victory was the second in the last three games for a team that opened 2009-10 with three consecutive wins out of the gate before losing six of seven.
As for the Highlanders, who also beat Long Beach State in their first league contest last weekend, they suffered their fourth loss in the last five outings on Monday night when they bowed to UC Santa Barbara i a 57-53 final. UCR currently stands at 7-7, but if not for wins over Berry College, La Verne and Cal State Bakersfield this group would be much worse off right now.
The Titans own a 19-15 advantage in the all-time series with the Highlanders, although UCR is the one that captured a 63-60 win at home in the most recent affair last season.
Aaron Thompson's seven-point effort meant he was the only starter who failed to score in double figures for the Titans in their win against LBSU. Gerard Anderson stepped up with 22 points as he shot a perfect 8-of-8 from the field, followed by Jacques Streeter with 20 points and five assists. Before fouling out Jer'Vaughn Johnson posted 13 points and nine rebounds, while Bryce Webster chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds as well. On a team that tends to have very balanced scoring, Streeter stands at the top of the scoring chart after 13 games with his 11.5 ppg, getting by with only 40 percent shooting from the field and 31.4 percent accuracy beyond the arc. Johnson accounts for 10.5 ppg, as does Thompson, the former playing close enough to the rim that he leads the unit with 6.3 rpg and the latter lining up 22-of-35 (.629) from three-point range yet a mere 14-of-22 (.636) at the free-throw line for some strange reason.
The Highlanders put themselves in a strong position to take out UCSB earlier in the week, as they held the Gauchos to a mere five field goals in the first 20 minutes of action, but that was before the visitors sank 53.3 percent from the floor in the second half and captured the four-point decision. Kyle Austin came up with 20 points and eight rebounds for Riverside, while Rudy Meo posted 15 points in 24 minutes off the bench. Larry Gurganious tacked on 10 points and nine rebounds, but he was guilty of four of the unit's 10 turnovers. On a team that is scoring just 65.1 ppg, Austin is the lone double-digit scorer at the moment with his 16.1 ppg. However, even though he is producing the most in the scoring column, it is not as though he is the most reliable shooter on the roster by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, Austin has made only 3- of-27 behind the three-point line and 60.4 percent of his free-throw tries to this point in the campaign. Then again, the Highlanders as a group have made good on only 62.2 percent at the charity stripe, so the lack of accuracy is far reaching.
Unfortunately for the Highlanders, they've built their record on quite a number of weak victories this season which means an opponent like Fullerton should expect to pick up a win on the road in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 72, UC Riverside 60
TitanCentral.com Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 74, UC Riverside 71