RENO, NEVADA -- Notes, quotes and observations from the first game of the World Vision Classic…
So. Utah (0-2) vs. Cal State Fullerton (0-2)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lawlor Events Center (11,536) -- Reno, Nevada. Television: None. Television: None. Home Record: SUU 0-0, Fullerton 0-0. Away Record: SUU 0-1, Fullerton 0-2. Neutral Record: SUU 0-1, Fullerton 0-0. Conference Record: SUU 0-0, Fullerton 0-0. Series Record: Cal State Fullerton leads, 4-0.
GAME NOTES: The Thunderbirds are coming off a 66-54 loss against the Green Bay Phoenix in their first taste of the World Vision Classic. Southern Utah was held to 34.5 percent shooting from the floor, including an unthreatening 4-of-17 from beyond the arc. The Thunderbirds were clearly not built to stop the physically imposing Phoenix, as they lost the rebounding battle (51-40) and were outscored in the paint (38-20). SUU opened up its season with a lopsided 103-65 loss to the Gonzaga Bulldogs in Spokane, Washington.
The Titans will be tested on Saturday night as they search for their first win after letting one slip away on Friday night. Fullerton held a 10-point lead over Nevada in the second half before the Wolf Pack charged back to take the lead in the waning seconds. Titans guard D.J. Seeley had a chance to make a game-winning shot in the closing seconds, but his attempt was blocked by the Wolf Pack's Deonte Burton, which dropped the team's overall record to 0-2. The Titans were defeated by Stanford (81-68) in their season opener.
This will be the fifth time these two schools will have met on the basketball court. Fullerton has won all four previous encounters.
None of the players on Southern Utah's roster walked way from Friday's loss feeling good about the effort. Jackson Stevenett had a respectable performance and led the team with 15 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the floor. However, the senior forward showed he is capable of much more in the team's season- opening loss to Gonzaga, as he netted 29 points and grabbed six rebounds against a nationally-ranked opponent. Wade Collie (3-of-4 FG, six points) was the only other Thunderbird to make more than two field goals against Green Bay, but he also turned the ball over a game-high five times in the loss. Damon Heuir is going to need to improve his outside shooting if SUU is going to start picking up wins. The senior guard left plenty to be desired by making only 2-of-12 field goal attempts his last time out.
Kwame Vaughn led four Titans in double figures with 20 points in their loss to Nevada in The Opening round of this event. Forward Sammy Yeager had a strong showing with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Seeley and Alex Harris produced 13 and 12 points, respectively. Seeley's 13-point performance came on an off-night when he managed to make just 2-of-8 field goal attempts, but he did get to the free-throw line enough for eight attempts and he handed out six assists as well. His slashing ability and court vision makes his teammates that much more effective. Harris provides a scoring spark off the bench as he is a consistent threat to drain a trey when he is in the game.
Both sides are going to come out hungry for a win. Although Stevenett is a legitimate scorer, the Titans have too many different options in their arsenal for Southern Utah to account for at the defensive end for the entire 40 minutes.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 73, Southern Utah 62
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