DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 13, 10:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Titan Gym (4,000) -- Fullerton, California. Television: None. Home Record: Idaho State 1-0, Cal State Fullerton 1-1. Away Record: Idaho State 0-4, Cal State Fullerton 0-4. Neutral Record: Idaho State 0-2, Cal State Fullerton 2-0. Conference Record: Idaho State 0-0, Cal State Fullerton 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 4-4.
GAMES NOTES: Two teams looking to reverse their fortunes will be matched up on Thursday night at Titan Gym when Cal State Fullerton hosts the Idaho State Bengals in non-conference action.
It has been a miserable start to the season for Idaho State which is just 1-6 after being routed by Oregon (87-35) last time out. The Bengals have spent the majority of their schedule on the road with losses in all four tries. The Bengals' only win came against Montana Western, a NAIA foe. Idaho State continues on the road in its next contest at Portland State.
While the Titans have been more successful this season there certainly isn't a ton of optimism coming out of Fullerton. The Titans have lost three straight games after a 72-70 loss to CSU-Bakersfield last time out. All three of those losses have been close though with each game decided by four points or less. Cal State Fullerton has played just a pair of games at home and has split those two decisions. The Titans take a trip to Texas Southern in their next outing.
Idaho State has won the last three meetings between these teams including an 84-79 victory during the 2010-2011 season. Those three wins have evened the all-time series at four games apiece.
Very little went well for Idaho State in its loss to Oregon. The Bengals had just 12 total field goals in the game and shot 27.9 percent overall from the field. The Bengals also managed to collect only 19 rebounds which was nearly 30 fewer than the Ducks. There wasn't much defensive pressure from the Bengals either with Oregon netting 52.5 percent of its shots, including 9-of-19 from beyond the arc. Melvin Morgan scored 11 points and was one of just three players with at least seven points for ISU.
Idaho State has been having so much trouble getting wins this season almost entirely because of its offensive efforts. The Bengals are the lowest scoring team in the nation (49.1 ppg) as well as one of the 20 worst shooting teams (37.5 FG percentage). Idaho State is also a very weak rebounding team with a -10.2 deficit on the boards. The Bengals bring in only 26.1 rebounds per game which is better than only two other teams nationally. Idaho State has played pretty well on defense though, limiting opponents to just 59.6 points per game on 42.7 percent shooting. Morgan (12.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.3 apg) has taken on the bulk of the scoring load but has shot at just a 36.7 percent rate. Chris Hansen (10.3 ppg) is also scoring in double figures but like Morgan, suffers from inconsistent shooting. Tomas Sanchez (8.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg) is a third scorer and the only other player putting in more than four points per game.
Cal State Fullerton led 50-35 early in the second half against CSU-Bakersfield but then allowed the Roadrunners to rip off a 16-4 run to bring the game back to within three points. A 5-0 spurt from the Titans seemed to stave off the Roadrunners but Bakersfield kept chipping away and took a 68-66 lead with 3:25 remaining. Cal State Fullerton hit 1-of-4 shot attempts and turned the ball over twice in the last three minutes and surrendered the decision. The Titans shot just 38.2 percent from the field and were outrebounded by a 47-31 margin. Kwame Vaughn was the top scorer with 22 points.
Despite its losing record, Cal State Fullerton has had no shortage of offense this season. The Titans are the fifth highest scoring team in the country (84.1 ppg) and also rank in the top 25 in field goal percentage (48.2). In fact Cal State Fullerton has a scoring differential of nearly 10 points (+9.5). However those numbers are largely influenced by routs of Southern Utah (112-69) and NAIA foe San Diego Christian (106-60). Vaughn (18.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.4 apg) and D.J. Seeley (18.8 ppg, 3.9 apg) have paired as one of the better scoring backcourt tandems in the country. Each has the ability to sway a game with his scoring, with each having scored 20 or more points at least three times. On the front line Sammy Yeager (13.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg) is the best option, while Alex Harris (10.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg) provides scoring off the bench.
The issue for the Titans has been keeping opponents under wraps. That shouldn't be as big of an issue against Idaho State which has yet to find any level of success at the offensive end.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 79, Idaho State 63
12/13 10:34:48 ET
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