(25) Marquette (3-2) at Cal State Fullerton (2-3)
Thursday, November 28, 4:30 p.m. (ET)
The Sports Network
By Phil Neuffer, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Titan Gym (3,900) -- Fullerton, California. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Marquette 3-1, Cal State Fullerton 1-0. Away Record: Marquette 0-1, Cal State Fullerton 1-3. Neutral Record: Marquette 0-0, Cal State Fullerton 0-0. Conference Record: Marquette 0-0, Cal State Fullerton 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The scuffling Marquette Golden Eagles will try to right the ship on Thursday when they take on the Cal State Fullerton Titans in a non- conference battle at Titan Gym as part of the Wooden Legacy.
When the new poll comes out next Monday it is likely that Marquette will fall out, as the 25th-ranked Golden Eagles are holding just a 3-2 overall mark. Marquette faced a tough Arizona State squad on the road earlier this week and took its second loss in three games, falling just short in a 79-77 final.
As for Cal State Fullerton, there hasn't been much to cheer about of late, as the Titans have lost consecutive games and three of their last four. Cal State Fullerton is playing in just its second home game on Thursday. The Titans captured an 86-73 victory in their home opener against Santa Clara earlier this month.
These teams are meeting for the first time ever on the hardwood.
The Golden Eagles missed their final four field-goal attempts, with the final one being blocked at the buzzer by Arizona State's Jordan Bachynski. Marquette allowed the Sun Devils to shoot 53.7 percent from the floor in the losing effort.
It was not the best night on defense for the Golden Eagles, especially considering their usual efforts on that end. Marquette is allowing only 62.2 points per game on 38.2 percent shooting from the field through the first five games. However, the Golden Eagles are netting below 40 percent from the field themselves. Only two players on the team are scoring in double figures and both are doing so off the bench. Todd Mayo (13.8 ppg) is the leader but was out against Arizona State with a sprained ankle. Mayo is questionable for Thursday's game. Mayo is scoring just a bit better than last season's Big East Sixth Man of the Year Davante Gardner (13.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg). Gardner also leads the team in rebounding. Jamil Wilson (9.2 ppg) is the best scoring option in the starting lineup.
Against the Spartans the Titans were not able to get to the free-throw line or shoot as well from beyond the arc as San Jose State. They were outscored 26-14 from the charity stripe and 33-15 from 3-point range. Cal State Fullerton also forced only five turnovers, while having 13 miscues of its own.
Even with a losing record, the Titans still hold a positive scoring margin, albeit a slim one (+0.4). Cal State Fullerton is netting 45.9 percent of its shots, while opponents are at an even 40 percent. A major reason the Titans struggled offensively against SJSU was the absence of leading scorer Alex Harris (17.7 ppg), who has missed back-to-back games with an ankle injury. Harris is questionable for Thursday's contest. That will again leave the primary scoring responsibilities to Michael Williams (13.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Marquis Horne (10.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg). Williams had a team-high 12 points against San Jose State, but Horne struggled with only three points on 1-of-4 shooting.
With both of these teams lacking certainty on the status of their leading scorers it will come down to the supporting casts to determine a winner. Gardner and Wilson are more than capable of carrying the load for Marquette in a winning effort.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Marquette 71, Cal State Fullerton 60
11/28 10:33:23 ET