Cal State Fullerton (7-13) at UC Riverside (7-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 6, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SRC Arena (3,168) -- Riverside, California. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Fullerton 5-4, UCR 5-5. Away Record: Fullerton 2-8, UCR 2-9. Neutral Record: Fullerton 0-1, UCR 0-0. Conference Record: Fullerton 2-4, UCR 2-5. Series Record: Cal State Fullerton leads, 27-17.
GAME NOTES: A couple of Big West Conference programs trying to get back into the win column collide in California tonight, as the UC Riverside Highlanders host the Cal State Fullerton Titans at SRC Arena.
Fullerton, which has won back-to-back games only once this season, is coming off a 75-56 blowout loss to Long Beach State on the road last Saturday. The defeat was the fourth in the last five outings for a program that is now just 2-4 in league play as a result.
Just behind the Titans in the conference standings is UC Riverside which has won twice in seven tries versus the rest of the Big West. The Highlanders have fallen in three of the last four contests, bowing to Cal State Northridge in overtime last week, 93-89.
The Titans lead the all-time series by a count of 27-17 after posting a 78-73 win at home in the first meeting of the season last month.
The Titans buried themselves in the first half against Long Beach State as they shot just 8-of-35 (.229) from the floor, and after trailing by a dozen at the break, the visitors then converted only 1-of-9 behind the 3-point line and 5-of-13 at the charity stripe. Michael Williams led the offense with 18 points, followed by Alex Harris who finished 5-of-15 from the field as he tallied 16 points.
Over the course of six conference games, Williams is the leading scorer for the program with 18.2 ppg, adding a team-best 16 assists as well, but also dealing with 14 turnovers. Harris is responsible for another 15.3 ppg, but in his case he has converted a mere 34.2 percent from the floor and that has helped drag the entire group down to 40.2 percent, resulting in a weak 63.2 ppg, compared to 69.8 ppg for the opposition.
Sam Finley erupted for 27 points off the bench last week for the Highlanders against Cal State Northridge, shooting 13-of-16 at the free-throw line, but still the visitors came up short in overtime. Also scoring in double figures for the Highlanders in the setback were Taylor Johns with 16 points, Steven Thornton 14 and Chris Patton 13 points as the team shot an impressive 54.5 percent from the floor, including 9-of-20 beyond the arc.
Although he has started just 10 of the 19 games in which he has appeared, Patton is listed as the leading scorer for the Highlanders on the season with 13.4 ppg, thanks to his 50.5 percent accuracy from the field. Johns and Finley also figure prominently into the offensive attack for UC Riverside with 12.6 and 12.0 ppg, respectively, but still this is a group that is struggling out on the perimeter with only 30.4 percent accuracy.
Fullerton isn't a great team on the road this season, but to think that Finley will be able to replicate his huge effort from over the weekend for the Highlanders again tonight is asking a bit much.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Fullerton 73, UC Riverside 69
02/06 10:16:40 ET