Hawaii Makes Inaugural Trip to Fullerton for Homecoming Night
TIP OFF: A struggling Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team (11-10 overall, 4-5 in the Big West Conference) closes out a brief two-game homestand on Saturday night (Feb. 2) at 8 p.m., as Hawaii visits Titan Gym for the first time in the history of the two programs. The Titans, who have lost four of their last five following a three-game winning streak, then embark on a three-game televised road swing against local opponents.
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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 with veteran voice of the Titans, Mike Martinez, handling the play-by-play.
CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?: Live streaming video for Saturday'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.
HOMECOMING HAPPENINGS: Festivities for Homecoming 2013 begin at 5 p.m. in front of Titan Gym with numerous activities prior to tip-off between the Titans and Warriors. Performances by the Cal State Fullerton Spirit Squad, caricaturists, and balloon artists (among other activities) will entertain prior to the game and, later, the newly-crowned, 12-time national champion Dance Team will perform their title-winning routine at halftime followed by welcoming remarks from University President Dr. Mildred Garcia.
SCOUTING THE WARRIORS: Hawaii enters Saturday night's contest with a 12-9 overall record and a 6-4 mark in Big West Conference play after posting a come-from-behind, 72-68, win at UC Riverside on Thursday... the Warriors have won two-straight on the road with both games decided by five points or fewer... Saturday will mark only the seventh "true" road game of the year for Hawaii, which is 2-4 away from the Stan Sheriff Center... Christian Standhardinger leads the offense at 15.9 ppg and is second with 7.8 rpg while shooting just over 50 percent from the floor this season... Vander Joaquim (13.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg, .496 FG%) and Isaac Fotu (10.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg, .628 FG%) are also in double figures... the Warriors are averaging 73.1 ppg and shooting .456 from the field while opponents are scoring 71.8 ppg and shooting .418 from the floor.
HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH HAWAII: The Warriors lead the all-time series with the Titans, 3-2, after their two-point, buzzer-beating win in Honolulu earlier in January... all five of the previous meetings between the two programs have been played on the Islands... Fullerton's last win in the series came on Nov. 16, 2008, with a 90-76 triumph behind a Sheriff Center-record 41 points by Josh Akognon.
LAST TIME OUT -- CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE 92, CAL STATE FULLERTON 86: Five Northridge players scored in double figures, including double-doubles from Josh Greene and Stephen Maxwell, and the visiting Matadors led wire-to-wire on Thursday night, handing Cal State Fullerton a, 92-86, defeat at Titan Gym. Kwame Vaughn finished with a game-high 28 points and a season high-tying eight assists to lead a trio of Titans in double figures, but Fullerton could not bounce back from a 32 percent shooting performance in the first half, despite hitting on a 60 percent clip in the second period. D.J. Seeley added 22 points and a team-high seven rebounds while Sammy Yeager scored 20 of his 21 points in the second half after being limited to just one shot from the field in the first 20 minutes.
A LOOK BACK... THE HEARTBREAKER IN HONOLULU: Garrett Jefferson's only basket of the game, a teardrop floater from the free throw line, found the bottom of the basket as time expired, lifting host Hawaii to a, 90-88, win over Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 3 in Honolulu. Kwame Vaughn finished with 26 points and D.J. Seeley, who had tied the game with a three-pointer from the left side with just six seconds to play, added 22 points in the loss as the Titans shot 51.4 percent from the field and had four players in double figures. Isaac Fotu led all scorers with 29 points, but it was Jefferson who proved the hero, racing the length of the court and letting go a shot with 0.2 remaining for the game-winner. Fullerton had led by as many as 11 points with 5:28 to play, but the Warriors closed the game on a 21-8 run, including four-straight three-pointers at one point.
TITANS' OFFENSE HANGS TOUGH IN NCAA TOP THREE: A better than season average scoring performance against Cal State Northridge on Thrusday has held the Titans steady among the nation's top-three scoring offenses entering Saturday night's game as Fullerton ranks No. 3 in the NCAA at 82.23 ppg -- one of only five teams entering this week averaging better than 80 points per game, joining Indiana (84.0 ppg), Northwestern State (83.7 ppg), Iona (82.18 ppg), and Ole Miss (80.0 ppg).
ELSEWHERE IN THE NATION: Fullerton also ranks among the top five teams in the NCAA in free throw percentage (4th, .777) while standing in the top 10 in three-pointers per game (8th, 9.0 pg), three-point percentage (8th, .403), and total points (8th, 1727 points). The Titans are also among the top 25 teams in the nation in field goal percentage (12th, .488), assists (20th, 16.0 apg), and turnover margin (19th, +3.9).
DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK: After trailing at the half just once in their first 16 games this season, the Titans have had to adjust and try to find their way out of a hole as of late, trailing at the break in each of their last five contests and posting just a 1-4 mark over that span. Overall, Fullerton has trailed at the break only six times in 21 contests this season, posting a 2-4 record in those games.
THREE-HEADED SCORING MONSTER: Cal State Fullerton remains as the only school to have three players among the Big West Conference's top 10 in scoring entering the night as D.J. Seeley (2nd, 19.3 ppg), Kwame Vaughn (3rd, 18.2 ppg), and Sammy Yeager (9th, 15.3 ppg) all make the cut while both Seeley (No. 21) and Vaughn (No. 42) also rank among the top 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).
ENOUGH TO GO AROUND: Seeley, Vaughn, and Yeager have all reached double figures in points in the same game 14 times in 21 games this season, including the trio all reaching at least 20 points in both games against Cal State Northridge on Jan. 5 at The Matadome as part of a 105-86 Fullerton victory on on Jan. 31 at Titan Gym in a six-point loss. The trio has combined to score just over 64 percent (1,109 of 1,727) of the team's points this season.
"THAT'S RIGHT, WOODCHUCK-CHUCKERS - IT'S...": Groundhog Day! Since the 1972-73 season, the Titans have competed alongside Punxsutawney Phil a total of 11 times, but have experienced "six more weeks of winter" more often than an "early spring," posting just a 4-7 mark on that day. Fullerton has, however, won its last two competitions on Groundhog Day, winning on the road at Cal State Northridge in 2008 (80-72) and versus Cal Poly in 2012 (83-61). Eight of the 11 Groundhog Day games have been played at Titan Gym, with the Titans posting a 3-5 mark in those contests, and this season marks only the third time since 1972-73 that Fullerton will play on Groundhog Day in back-to-back seasons.
PLAYING CATCH-UP: The Titans experienced a first on Thursday night against Cal State Northridge as it marked the first time that Fullerton had not held a lead in a game this season, coming no closer than ties of 4-4 and 9-9 early in the first half. The slimmest lead the Titans had held this season was a single point at the 18:08 mark of the first half against UC Irvine on Jan. 17
STILL MISSING IT BY THAT MUCH: Thursday night's six-point loss to Cal State Northridge marked the second-straight contest -- and the seventh time in 10 losses this season -- that the Titans have fallen by single digits.
NINE IS FINE FOR KWAME AND DJ: With their 28 and 22-point nights, respectively on Thursday against Matadors, both Kwame Vaughn and D.J. Seeley notched their league-leading ninth games of 20-or-more points this season, breaking a tie with Northridge's Stephan Hicks (who missed the game due to injury) and UC Davis' Corey Hawkins (who doesn't play until Saturday night against Pacific). Seeley leads all active Big West players with 22 career 20-point games while Vaughn is second with 18 of his own, both standing among a select group of four players in double digits in that career category (Hicks has 13 while UC Irvine's Daman Starring has 10).
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 6-7 when that occurs in 2012-13. The duo has reached 20 points in the same game 14 times during their Fullerton careers (eight of those coming last season and five times this year), posting an 8-6 mark in those contests (5-1 at home, 3-4 on the road, and 0-1 on a neutral floor).
HE'S A GIVER: Vaughn dished out a season high-tying eight assists to go with his game-high 28 points on Thursday against Northridge -- the 10th time in 21 starts that he has handed out at least five assists in a game. Since being held "assistless" for the only time this season against UC Riverside on Jan. 12, Vaughn has been one to help, averaging 5.0 apg over his last five games, which also including games of seven (vs. Long Beach State) and six (at UC Davis) helpers.
AND HE'S A SCORER: Vaughn has reached double figures in all but one game this season and has rebounded well from his lone single-digit scoring performance against Long Beach State on Jan. 19, averaging 20.3 ppg and shooting .409 (18-for-44) from the field over his last three games -- including a pair of 20-point outings against UC Davis (20) and Cal State Northridge (28).
NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH: But there are such things as free points if you're Kwame Vaughn. The Titans' senior finished 11-for-12 at the line Thursday against the Matadors -- the fourth time this season he has had double-digit makes from the stripe -- increasing his league-leading total to 119 free throws made. Vaughn ranks second in the Big West in free throw percentage at .862, a total that would rank him fourth on the school's single-season list, while his career mark of .855 entering the night would be the third-best in school history.
DIALING LONG DISTANCE: Senior Sammy Yeager, the Big West's second-best three-point shooter in terms of percentage, in also one of the nation's best sharpshooters as his .462 mark from beyond the arc also has him ranked No. 8 in the nation entering this week.
CAN'T NOBODY HOLD HIM DOWN: Since being held to a season-low five points against UC Irvine on Jan. 17, Seeley is averaging 23.5 ppg over his last four contests while shooting .486 (34-for-70) from the floor, .483 (14-for-29) from behind the arc, and snagging 6.0 rpg. He has scored at least 20 points in each of his last three games, including his third, 30-point game of the year at UC Davis (32 points on 11-of-16 from the floor).
MINUTE MEN: With the Titans' regular 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 13 of the team's 21 games overall (including nine of the last 11), enters the night ranked atop the league at 34.6 mpg while Seeley, who has eight games of 35 minutes or more -- and has reached that mark in five of his last seven -- is fourth at 33.5 mpg. Yeager, who has played at least 35 minutes in six of his last eight, is eighth in the conference at 31.6 mpg while Harris is mere percentage points outside the top 10 at 31.2 mpg.
#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 (.488 to UC Davis' .475), three-point percentage (.403 to UC Davis' .390), and free throw percentage (.777 to Cal Poly's .730).
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 three players to do so entering the night, along with Long Beach State's Mike Caffey. Seeley leads the league in steals at 2.4 spg and ranks ninth in assists at 3.9 apg, while Vaughn stands fifth in both steals (1.7 spg) and assists (4.2 apg).
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.
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 15 games due to an injury he suffered in December.
EIGHT(Y) IS GREAT(Y)...: What a difference a point makes. Cal State Fullerton is a stellar 8-2 this season when scoring at least 80 points this season compared to just 3-8 when scoring 79 points or fewer.
...AND NINETY IS NICE...: Fullerton's 95 points in its win at UC Davis marked the sixth time in 11 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 89.8 ppg in its 11 victories this season while holding opponents to just 72.6 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 Cal State Northridge on Jan. 5 -- 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.