Titans Hope Change of Scenery Leads to Change of Fortune
ON TAP FOR CAL STATE FULLERTON...
Cal State Fullerton at UC Davis
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 | 7:00 p.m.
The Pavilion (8,000)
Game Coverage: Live Stats | UCD Audio | Video | CSF Release | UC Davis Release
TIP OFF: After suffering through a rough weekend at the hands of local rivals, the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team (10-8 overall, 3-3 in the Big West Conference) hopes a change of scenery will lead to a change of fortune. The Titans head to Northern California hoping to snap a two-game losing streak, tipping-off a brief road trip against UC Davis on Thursday (Jan. 24) at 7 p.m., from The Pavilion.
UP NEXT: Following Thursday's game at Davis, Fullerton will head to Stockton for a 7 p.m. clash with Pacific on Saturday (Jan. 26). It will be the final time that the Titans and Tigers will meet as members of the Big West Conference as Pacific is slated to leave the league for the West Coast Conference beginning with the 2013-14 academic year.
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CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: Thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet, Cal State Fullerton's home games, as well as selected road contests, can be heard live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. Links will be made available on the men's basketball schedule page.
CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?: Live streaming video for Thursday's game will be shown for free via Big West TV. To access the links, please visit the men's basketball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com.
CH-CH-CH-CHANGES: Get out your local listings, the Titans' schedule has undergone a couple changes over the next two months. Due to the resolution of the NHL lockout, Cal State Fullerton's Homecoming game against Hawaii on Feb. 2 will no longer be televised by Fox Sports West to avoid conflicts with an Anaheim Ducks broadcast. Tip-off for the game, however, will remain at 8 p.m., so as not to affect previously scheduled Homecoming festivites. Also, Fullerton's possible ESPN wild card game at UC Santa Barbara will now tip-off at 8 p.m., if selected to be televised by the network.
SCOUTING THE AGGIES: UC Davis enters the week with a 7-10 overall record and a 3-3 mark in Big West Conference play... behind the play of reigning Big West Player of the Week, sophomore guard Corey Hawkins, the Aggies swept through Cal State Northridge (74-71) and Hawaii (93-82) on the road last week... Hawkins is averaging 19.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while shooting .446 from the floor and 92 percent from the line... junior guard Ryan Sypkens (13.9 ppg) and sophomore forward J.T. Adenrele (11.3 ppg, 23 blocks) are also in double figures... senior guard Ryan Howley leads the team with 8.2 rebounds per game while averaging 5.6 points per game... UC Davis is averaging 72.0 ppg and shooting .469 from the floor for the season while allowing 73.4 ppg and holding opponents to .415 from the field.
HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH UC DAVIS: The Titans lead the all-time series with the Aggies by an 11-7 count, posting identical 5-3 records at both Titan Gym and The Pavilion with the site of the inaugural meeting during the 1961-62 season unknown... Fullerton lost last year's meeting in Davis by a 78-75 decision... the two teams have split the regular season series in three of the last four seasons with the Aggies sweeping the series and posting a 68-65 win in the Big West Tournament in 2009-10... the last three meetings (and six of the last seven) have all been decided by single digits.
LAST TIME OUT -- LONG BEACH STATE 81, CAL STATE FULLERTON 71: The 49ers' James Ennis (23 points, 11 rebounds) and Keala King (12 points, 11 rebounds) each finished with double-doubles and visiting Long Beach State broke open a one-possession game with an 8-0 run over a three-minute span late Saturday night, lifting them to an 81-71 win. Senior Sammy Yeager finished with a team-high 22 points for the Titans, who were held to just 39 percent from the field for the game, but rallied from a six-point deficit to close to within 70-68 with 4:32 to play. A lay-up by King jumpstarted a decisive 8-0 run and Fullerton was held to just 1-of-8 from the field in the final 4:32 as the 49ers remained atop the Big West Conference leaderboards. Senior D.J. Seeley (17 points) and junior Deuce Johnson (10 points) were also in double figures for the Titans.
TITANS HANG ON TO TOP-FIVE SPOT AMONG NATION'S SCORING LEADERS: After being held to under their season scoring average for the fourth-straight contest, the Titans slipped to No. 4 in the nation in scoring at 82.2 points per game, but still stand as one of only seven programs in the country averaging better than 80 points per contest entering the week. Fullerton trails only Northwestern State (85.0 ppg), Indiana (84.4 ppg), and Mississippi (82.4 ppg), with Iona (81.5 ppg), Iowa State (80.5), and the Virginia Military Institute (80.2 ppg) rounding out the group of seven.
ELSEWHERE IN THE NATION: Fullerton also ranks among the top five teams in the NCAA in free throw percentage (3rd, .778), just behind national leader Davidson (.799), and stands among the top 20 in six other categories: field goal percentage (12th, .489), points (13th, 1479), three-pointers per game (13th, 8.7 pg), three-point percentage (13th, .393), turnover margin (16th, 4.2), and assists per game (19th, 16.2 apg).
21: Good for when you're in Las Vegas, bad when you're senior Kwame Vaughn. Vaughn, who had scored in double figures in every game this season, had his 21-game double-digit scoring streak come to an end on Jan. 19 against Long Beach State after the 49ers held him to just five points on 2-of-13 from the field. It was the longest active streak by a Titan after teammate D.J. Seeley had his own 20-game streak snapped on Jan. 9 at Bakersfield.
SAMMY STRONG IN BIG WEST PLAY: After three weeks of Big West Conference play, senior Sammy Yeager has been one of the league's most potent scorers, ranking second in the conference at 19.8 ppg (one of three Titans in the top five thus far) while also leading the league in three-pointers made (4.2 per game) and standing eighth in field goal percentage (.558) and sixth in three-point percentage (.532).
SAMMY'S LAST SEVEN: Overall, Yeager has reached double figures in each of his last seven games (including a career-high 30 point outing against UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 29 and two more 20-point contests) following a season-low four points against Hope International on Dec. 22, averaging 19.6 ppg over that stretch, shooting .549 (50-for-91) from the field and .528 (28-for-53) from beyond the arc.
DIALING LONG DISTANCE: Yeager, the Big West's fourth-best three-point shooter in terms of percentage, in also one of the nation's best as his .462 mark from beyond the arc also has him ranked No. 11 in the nation entering this week.
BACK-TO-BACK RARITY: Last week's back-to-back losses were the first for the Titans in almost two months since the Titans lost three-straight from Nov. 30-Dec. 6 against Eastern Washington, Washington, and Bakersfield.
QUITE A LOSS: Fullerton's 27-point loss to UC Irvine on Jan. 17 was one point more than their previous six losses combined (26) to that point this season. The loss was the worst at home since a 70-43 defeat to San Francisco on Nov. 19, 2001, and was also the worst Big West loss for the Titans since a 77-44 defeat at UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 31, 2004.
JOHNSON MAKES IT THREE-STRAIGHT IN THE SCORING COLUMN: Three-straight games in double figures for the Titans' man in the middle after junior Deuce Johnson put together a pair of scoring performances last week against local rivals UC Irvine and Long Beach State, finishing with 10 points against both the Anteaters and 49ers to up his season average to 7.4 ppg entering this week's trip to Northern California. The run accounts for half of Johnson's six double-digit scoring performances this season after posting 10-or-more points against San Diego Christian (Nov. 23), at Texas Southern (Dec. 16), and a career-high 14 points at Hawaii (Jan. 3).
POTENT 1-2-7 PUNCH: Cal State Fullerton is the only school to have three players among the Big West Conference's top 10 in scoring entering the weekend as D.J. Seeley (2nd, 18.2 ppg), Kwame Vaughn (3rd, 17.9 ppg), and Sammy Yeager (7th, 15.4 ppg) all make the cut. However, this is the first time since the week of Dec. 17 that a Titan has not stood atop the league in scoring after UC Davis' Corey Hawkins, whom Fullerton will battle this week, finished with school-record 40 points in a win at Hawaii to take over the league-lead at 19.2 ppg. Both Seeley (No. 41) and Vaughn (No. 54) also rank among the top scorers in the nation in that category. The last Titan to lead the league in scoring was Josh Akognon (23.9 ppg) in 2009 -- one of only three Fullerton players to have paced the Big West in that category since 1970: Leon Wood in 1984 (24.0 ppg), Cedric Ceballos in 1989 (21.2 ppg) and 1990 (23.1 ppg), and Ralphy Holmes in 2005 (16.9 ppg).
MINUTE MEN: With the Titans' rotation down to just seven players, Cal State Fullerton's senior backcourt duo of Kwame Vaughn and D.J. Seeley, along with senior Sammy Yeager and sophomore Alex Harris, have had to log a lot of minutes as of late. Vaughn, who has played at least 35 minutes in 10 of the team's 18 games overall, enters the week ranked second in the league at 34.1 mpg while Seeley, who has six games of 35 minutes or more -- and has reached that mark in three of his last four -- is sixth at 32.8 mpg. Yeager, who has played at least 35 minutes in four of his last five, is 10th in the conference at 30.9 ppg while Harris is mere percentage points behind Yeager outside the top 10.
KNOX PROVIDES BOOST IN LIMITED TIME: Senior guard Jordan Knox gave the Titans a bit of a lift off the bench on Jan. 17 against UC Irvine, hitting both of his shots and tying his career high with five points in 11 minutes against the Anteaters. The 17 points scored in eight games this season by Knox are the first of his career after the senior, who is 7-of-10 from the field this season and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, went scoreless in eight contests as a junior after transferring from Las Positas JC for the 2011-12 season.
#BULLSEYE: The marksmanship medal should go to the Titans thus far this season as Fullerton is, perhaps, the best-shooting team in the Big West Conference. The Titans lead the league in all three shooting categories entering the weekend: field goal percentage (.489 to Pacific's .470), three-point percentage (.393 to UC Davis' .378), and free throw percentage (.778 to Cal Poly's .732).
NELSON CLEARED TO RETURN TO PRACTICE: The Cal State Fullerton coaching staff got a bit of good news when sophomore forward Darius Nelson was medically cleared to return to practice after recovering from foot surgery performed prior to the start of the 2012-13 season. Nelson would provide much-needed depth to the Titans' frontcourt which lost senior John Underwood to a leave of absence in November and Marquis Horne for the last 12 games due to injury in December.
THEY GIVETH AND THEY TAKETH AWAY: When not scoring, multi-faceted senior guards D.J. Seeley and Kwame Vaughn have also been doing the little things, entering the week ranked among the league's top 10 in both assists and steals -- two of only four players to do so entering the week, joining Long Beach State's Mike Caffey and Cal State Northridge's Josh Greene. Seeley leads the league in steals at 2.4 spg and ranks tied for sixth in assists at 4.0 apg along with teammate Vaughn, who is also sixth in steals (1.6 spg).
EIGHT(Y) IS GREAT(Y)...: What a difference a point makes. Fullerton suffered its first loss of the season when scoring more than 80 points in a game after falling 90-88 at Hawaii on Jan. 3, but the Titans are still a stellar 7-1 this season when hitting the mark compared to just 3-7 when scoring 79 points or fewer.
...AND NINETY IS NICE...: Fullerton's 105 points in its win at Cal State Northridge marked the fifth time in 10 victories this season that the Titans have eclipsed the 90-point plateau. Fullerton, which reached 90 points six times in 31 games combined last season, is averaging 89.3 ppg in its 10 victories this season while holding opponents to just 71.1 ppg in those contests.
...BUT A HUNDRED IS HEAVENLY: The Titans reached the 100-point plateau for the third time this season with their 105 points against the Matadors -- the first time that Fullerton has surpassed the 100-point plateau three times in a single-season since the 2006-07 campaign when the Titans reached the century mark four times against Cal Maritime (W, 108-56), Eastern Washington (L, 110-100), San Jose State (W, 104-77), and Pacific (W, 100-92 in 2OT).
ALRIGHT, YOU'VE MADE YOUR POINT: With the win at Cal State Northridge on Jan. 5, the Titans improved to 54-1 all-time when scoring at least 100 points as the 105 points against the Matadors rank among the top 25 point totals in school history. Earlier this season, Cal State Fullerton's 112 points in a 43-point win over Southern Utah on Nov. 17 is tied for the sixth-highest point total in school history while the 106 points scored against San Diego Christian on Nov. 23 are tied for No. 20. Fullerton's single-game record stands at 128 points against Chapman University on Jan. 8, 1972, in a 128-88 victory.
HEY MR. D.J.: Seeley's Big West-best 37-point performance against Cal State Northridge on Jan. 5 is tied for the fifth-highest single-game total in school history, matching Kwame Vaughn's 37 points against UC Santa Barbara last season and Josh Akognon's 37-point night against UC Riverside in 2009. The total eclipsed his previous career best of 32 points set earlier this year against Southern Utah on Nov. 17 and marked the third time in his Titan career that he has reached 30 points in a game after also scoring 32 in the 2011-12 season finale at LMU on March 14.
MORE TWENTY-POINT TIDBITS: Last season, Fullerton was 17-5 when either Seeley (10-3) or Vaughn (7-2) scored at least 20 points, but the Titans are just 5-5 when that occurs in 2012-13... the duo has reached 20 points in the same game 12 times during their Fullerton careers (eight of those coming last season and three times this year), posting a 7-5 mark in those contests (5-0 at home, 2-4 on the road, and 0-1 on a neutral floor)... Seeley has the most career 20-point games of any active player in the Big West (19) and is just one of four in double figures along with teammate Vaughn (16), Northridge's Stephan Hicks (12), and UC Irvine's Daman Starring (10)... Vaughn, Hicks, and UC Davis' Corey Hawkins share the league lead with seven, 20-point games this season.