Cal State Fullerton (5-8) at Tulsa (4-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 1 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reynolds Center (8,355) -- Tulsa, Oklahoma. Television: None. Home Record: Fullerton 3-3, Tulsa 3-2. Away Record: Fullerton 2-4, Tulsa 0-5. Neutral Record: Fullerton 0-1, Tulsa 1-2. Conference Record: Fullerton 0-0, Tulsa 0-0. Series Record: Tulsa leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: The Tulsa Golden Hurricane open up a three-game homestand on Saturday afternoon, as they welcome the Cal State Fullerton Titans to the Reynolds Center.
Fullerton had been a winner of three of its last four games prior to last Saturday's road bout with UNLV, which it lost handily, 83-64. The Titans have not fared well this season, as they sport just a 5-8 record, including a 2-4 mark in true road games.
Tulsa has also struggled during its non-conference schedule this season, winning just four of 13 games during the first two months of the campaign. The Golden Hurricane are losers of two straight, most recently dropping an 85-74 decision at Maryland on Sunday. The good news coming into this matchup is that they've won three in a row at the Reynolds Center.
In regards to the all-time series, Tulsa has beaten Fullerton three out of four times, with the latest meeting coming in 1990.
The Titans fell behind early in their most recent game and could never recover on their way to a 19-point defeat, as they shot just 34.9 percent from the field (including 3-of-15 from 3-point range) while allowing UNLV to make 48.4 percent of its field goal tries. Michael Williams led the losing effort with 13 points, while Josh Gentry and Steven McClellan each netted 11 points in reserve roles.
Fullerton has struggled to score points all season long, as it shoot 43.3 percent from the field for 67.3 ppg, which all but negates a solid scoring defense (69.8 ppg). The biggest reason for its offensive inconsistency is due to its spotty play from beyond the arc, as it makes just 5.5 3-pointers per game at a 30.9 percent clip. Williams paces the squad with 14.8 ppg on 41.3 percent from the field and 31.2 percent from 3-point territory. Alex Harris brings 12.6 ppg to the table, while also leading the team with 1.2 spg. Marquis Horne narrowly misses the double-digit scorers club with 9.5 ppg.
The Golden Hurricane actually led their most recent game by three points early in the second half but quickly lost control on their way to an 11-point loss at Maryland. Although they were able to keep the game close for much of the contest thanks to a strong 12-of-26 showing from 3-point range, their overall field goal percentage (.388) failed to impress, and they also lost the rebounding battle, 43-34. James Woodard shined in spite of defeat, netting 25 points on 5-of-9 from 3-point range. Rashad Smith and Pat Swilling put up 12 points apiece, while D'Andre Wright posted eight points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
Tulsa has generated a solid offensive attack this season, sporting 72.2 ppg, but its defensive effort has not been strong enough to support it, as it allows 75.8 ppg. It is consistently outmanned on the boards (-3.2 rebounding margin) and shoots free throws at a lowly 63.6 percent efficiency. Woodard is both the team leader in scoring (14.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg) and he shoots an impressive 42 percent from beyond the arc. Smith brings 12.4 ppg and 5.4 rpg to the table while shooting greater than 50 percent from the field.
With neither team playing well this season, Tulsa's homecourt advantage will likely prove to be the deciding factor. Expect the Golden Hurricane's stellar 3-point shooting to get the best of the Titans.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulsa 77, Cal State Fullerton 72
01/04 10:43:37 ET