DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 8 p.m. (pt)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Titan Gym (4,000) -- Fullerton, California. Television: FSN-PT. Home Record: Hawaii 9-5, Fullerton 5-4. Away Record: Hawaii 2-4, Fullerton 4-6. Neutral Record: Hawaii 1-0, Fullerton 2-0. Conference Record: Hawaii 6-4, Fullerton 4-5. Series Record: Hawaii leads, 3-2.
GAME NOTES: Hawaii, notorious for having trouble winning on the road, has actually posted back-to-back conference victories and is gunning for its third three-game win streak this season in this meeting. The team was in action on Thursday night and picked up a 72-68 decision against UC Riverside, moving the Warriors to 6-4 in conference play and into third place in the standings.
Hawaii has not won three straight road games since turning the trick during the 2003-04 campaign against the likes of San Jose State, SMU and Louisiana Tech as a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
The Titans, all alone in seventh place in the standings with a record of 4-5, were also on the hardwood two nights ago, but in their case they suffered a 92-86 setback against Cal State Northridge. The defeat was the second in a row and the fourth in five games for the program.
Hawaii leads the all-time series between these two teams by a 3-2 count after claiming a 90-88 win at home in the first meeting of the season early last month. Garrett Jefferson played the hero for the hosts as he knocked down the game-winning shot at the buzzer, as the Warriors erased an 11-point deficit over the final five minutes.
Christian Standhardinger led the attack for the Rainbow Warriors as he recorded yet another double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds, both of which were game highs in the victory over UCR two nights ago. Brandon Spearman added 15 points and Vander Joaquim 10, although the latter cleared just two rebounds as the team was beaten on the glass somehow, 31-28. In conference games this season the Warriors are averaging close to 37 rpg, thanks to the efforts of Standhardinger (7.8 rpg) and Joaquim (8.1 rpg) who just happen to be the leading scorers for the program as well with 16.2 and 11.8 ppg, respectively. Helping those two with their point production is Jace Tavita who is averaging almost five assists per game, sacrificing his own offense (2.1 ppg) for the good of the team.
The Titans forced 21 turnovers the other night, but at the same time permitted Cal State Northridge to shoot 53.2 percent from the floor and sent the visitors to the free-throw line a total of 33 times, where the Matadors converted 23 chances. Kwame Vaughn delivered a game-high 28 points and eight assists in the setback, followed by D.J. Seeley and Sammy Yeager with 22 and 21 points, respectively, but that means the remaining starters combined for only seven points and the bench chipped in eight. Representing one of the top scoring duos in not just the conference but the nation at this stage of the season, Seeley checks in with 19.3 ppg and Vaughn is good for another 18.2 ppg for a Titan group that is one of the top scoring programs in the country with 82.2 ppg. But more than putting the ball in the basket, those two also combine for 169 assists which means they are getting teammates involved as well.
With the pace that the Titans like to set in their games, asking the big men of Hawaii to continually drag themselves up and down the floor might be a lot to ask. Expecting the Rainbow Warriors to win on the road yet again is also asking quite a bit much of the squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 91, Hawaii 82