DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 7th, 7:00 p.m. (pt).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mott Gymnasium (3,032) -- San Luis Obispo, California. Television: None. Home Record: Fullerton 6-1, Cal Poly 4-3. Away Record: Fullerton 3-2, Cal Poly 3-3. Neutral Record: Fullerton 1-1, Cal Poly 2-0. Conference Record: Fullerton 2-1, Cal Poly 0-2. Series Record: Cal Poly leads, 32-22.
GAME NOTES: After losing three straight games to the likes of Houston Baptist, Cal State Bakersfield and Wichita State in late November/early December, the Titans reeled off seven consecutive wins in order to become one of the more high- profile programs in the Big West. However, on Thursday night the team was knocked down a few pegs when UC Santa Barbara delivered a 77-64 smackdown which dropped Fullerton to 2-1 in conference play.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs were also off to a strong start to 2011-12, winning eight of their first 11 games, but then the team began to struggle on offense and if not for a 67-61 win over Hope International on December 29 at home, the squad would be in the midst of a significant losing streak. Two nights ago, Cal Poly suffered a 55-50 loss at the hands of Long Beach State to drop to 0-2 in conference.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Mustangs are ahead by a count of 32-22, partly due to winning the last two matchups.
The Titans dug themselves a huge hole in the first half against UCSB, shooting just 8-of-35 from the floor and 1-of-10 behind the three-point line, and from there it was too much to handle as the visitors dropped the 13-point decision on the road. Isiah Umipig was credited with a team-high 18 points, D.J. Seeley accounted for a double-double consisting of 15 and 10 boards, followed by Kwame Vaughn with 12 points, five assists and three steals. Off the bench Andre Hardy posted eight points and 10 boards for the group. Seeley leads four double-digit scorers at the moment with his 15.6 ppg, but he is only slightly ahead of Vaughn who is producing 15.1 ppg. Omondi Amoke, although just a 53.7 percent shooter at the free-throw line, is a double-double waiting to happen with his 12.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
Even though Long Beach State used a total of just six players two nights ago, that was still enough to send the Mustangs to the loss column for the third time in the last four outings. Will Taylor tried to keep Cal Poly in the mix with his 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor, followed by David Hanson with 11 points, but the team shot just 1-of-14 behind the three-point line which is the type of performance that will doom any program on any night. The Mustangs are a group that don't score a lot of points, posting a mere 62.1 ppg, but to their credit they certainly makes things interesting with one of the tighter defenses in the country, allowing just 55.3 ppg. Hanson heads a list of three players scoring in double figures with his 11.0 ppg, with Taylor coming in with 10.5 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per outing, but still it is tough to get past the fact that he has just four assists in 15 starts.
As long as the Mustangs can keep the scoring to a minimum they have a fighting chance, but as soon as Seeley and Amoke get started it will be tough to keep the Titans down.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 69, Cal Poly 58