Santa Clara (2-0) at Cal State Fullerton (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 16, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Titan Gym (4,000) -- Fullerton, California. Television: None. Home Record: Santa Clara 2-0, Fullerton 0-0. Away Record: Santa Clara 0-0, Fullerton 0-0. Neutral Record: Santa Clara 0-0, Fullerton 1-1. Conference Record: Santa Clara 0-0, Fullerton 0-0. Series Record: Santa Clara leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Cal State Fullerton Titans will play their home opener on Saturday afternoon, as they take on the unbeaten Santa Clara Broncos at Titan Gym.
Santa Clara went a stellar 26-12 in 2012-13 and was crowned the champions of the College Basketball Invitational. The momentum has carried over to this season as the team has streaked out to a 2-0 start. The Broncos most recently hosted San Jose State on Tuesday night and came away with an 89-77 victory, shooting 46.7 percent from the floor while going 27-of-40 at the free-throw line. Brandon Clark was the standout performer, tallying 23 points and five assists. Jerry Brown notched a double-double consisting of 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Jared Brownridge (15 points), Denzel Johnson (11 points) and Yannick Atanga (10 rebounds) also played pivotal roles in the victory.
Not only did Fullerton go a lackluster 14-18 last season, and it experienced a huge overhaul at the conclusion, as the majority of its scoring production moved on. The Titans have opened the season at 1-1 record, most recently falling at Seattle on Wednesday, 75-71, as they lost control of a 14-point second-half advantage. Michael Williams was impressive in the setback with 17 points, although he was just 2-of-8 from 3-point range, and the team as a whole made only seven of its 22 attempts from long distance (.318). Marquis Horne and Alex Harris both netted 14 points, while Josh Gentry had nine points, six rebounds and two blocks in a reserve role.
These teams have met just once before, with Santa Clara winning in December of 1994, 79-65.
The Broncos have been dominant through their first two games, scoring nearly 30 points more (86.5) than their opponents (58.0) on average, while also owning an outstanding +7.5 turnover margin. Brownridge has been to top scoring option in the early going, putting up 20.0 points per game while also handing out nine assists to just a single turnover. Brown (14.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) is a mainstay in the frontcourt, as is Atanga (9.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg) although he is not much for scoring with just 4.0 ppg. Clark (11.5 ppg) and Jalen Richard (10.0 ppg) round out the unit's double-digit scorers.
Despite losing Kwame Vaughn (18.4 ppg), D.J. Seeley (17.9 ppg) and Sammy Yeager (15.8 ppg) in the offseason, the Titans haven't had much trouble scoring with their new bunch, as they put up 77.5 points per game on nearly 49 percent field goal shooting. Harris, a transfer from Northeastern, has logged big minutes in the backcourt and has taken advantage with 17.0 points per game while shooting 5-of-11 from 3-point range. Williams (15.5 ppg) joins Harris on the perimeter, and Horne (13.5 ppg) is a threat in the low post. Fullerton has also played well on the glass, outrebounding its opponents by eight boards per game.
While the early-season slate of games often comes with some ugly basketball, both of these squads have started well with high field goal percentages and low turnover numbers. Fullerton will have a leg up playing at home, but expect the Broncos' deep bench to be too much for the Titans to handle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Santa Clara 79, Cal State Fullerton 75
11/16 10:41:36 ET