DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 21st, 7:00 p.m. (pt).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bren Events Center (6,000) -- Irvine, California. Television: None. Home Record: Fullerton 7-1, UCI 3-3. Away Record: Fullerton 3-4, UCI 3-7. Neutral Record: Fullerton 1-1, UCI 0-2. Conference Record: Fullerton 3-2, UCI 3-3. Series Record: Cal State Fullerton leads, 50-42.
GAME NOTES: UCI, which is an even 3-3 at home so far in 2011-12, has been out of action since last weekend when the team was dumped by UC Santa Barbara in a 74-56 final on the road. The setback was the second in a row for the squad after it had won four of the previous five outings. Up next for the Anteaters is a non- conference bout with Seattle on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, the Titans registered their third conference win of the campaign on Wednesday night with a 72-61 decision against UC Riverside at home. The victory was the seventh in eight tries in Fullerton's own building this year, and also served to snap a three-game slide as well.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Titans own a 50-42 advantage, which includes a mark of 13-12 at the Bren Events Center.
Fullerton turned the ball over 16 times against the Highlanders, but the Titans made up for those miscues by connecting on 66.7 percent from the floor in the second half and 51.9 percent from the field overall in the double-digit triumph. Kwame Vaughn accounted for a team-best 28 points as he missed on just four of his 15 field goal tries, while D.J. Seeley tacked on 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds as he made good on 4-of-6 beyond the arc in the meeting. One of four starters scoring in double figures for the Titans, Seeley is putting in 15.5 ppg as he shoots 40.7 percent from the floor. Right on par with Seeley is Vaughn with his 15.5 ppg as well, the big difference being that Vaughn has converted 50.9 percent of his shots and is also responsible for close to four assists per game as well.
UCI led by three points early against the Gauchos in the last outing, but the visitors ended up making just nine field goals in the first half and shooting 33.3 percent from the floor for the game overall as they finished with more turnovers (21) than field goals (19). Travis Souza tried to pull it together for the group with his 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting beyond the arc, but that just meant the rest of his teammates combined to shoot only 3-of-19 out on the perimeter. Michael Wilder tacked on 11 points and five rebounds, not to mention four turnovers. Wilder is responsible for a team-high 11.4 ppg at the moment, having made good on a team-best 44 triples, and yet he is also one of the tough guys in the paint with better than five and a half rebounds per outing as well. Daman Starring chips in 11.3 ppg, although his mere 38.3 percent shooting is one of the reasons why the team as a whole is down at 39.9 percent for the season.
As long as the Titans can again spread the wealth and keep plenty of people involved in the offense, this should be another tally heading for the win column for the visitors.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 71, UC Irvine 62