Matadors Make Return Trip to Orange County To Tackle Titans

UP NEXT FOR THE TITANS...
Cal State Northridge at Cal State Fullerton
Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 | 7:05 p.m.
Fullerton, Calif.
Titan Gym (4,000)
Game Coverage: Live Stats | Audio | Video | CSF Release Adobe PDF icon  | CSUN Release

SERIES RECORDS...
Overall: Cal State Fullerton Leads, 38-29 (Won 3)
Titan Gym: 8-6 (Won 1)
The Matadome: 10-4 (Won 2)
Honda Center: 0-1 (Lost 1)

** Site records only available since 1989-90 

TIP OFF: Almost halfway through the Big West Conference schedule, the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team (11-9 overall, 4-4 in league play) begins its second-trip through the conference slate (sort of...) on Thursday (Jan. 31) at 7:05 p.m., hosting Cal State Northridge at Titan Gym. The Titans, who have only yet to play Cal Poly among their league foes this season, will then host Hawaii on Saturday (Feb. 2) at 8 p.m., in front of a Homecoming night crowd.

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans' athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF.Athletics) and Twitter (@FullertonTitans).

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 MATADORS: Cal State Northridge enters the week with a 10-11 overall record and a 1-8 mark in Big West Conference play after splitting last week's contests against UC Santa Barbara (W, 75-69) and Cal Poly (L, 75-64)... the win over the Gauchos was the first in league play for the Matadors this season, snapping a seven-game losing streak dating to a Dec. 21 win at Utah... sophomore Stephan Hicks leads two teammates in double figures at 16.8 ppg while shooting 49 percent from the field, but was injured early in the second half against Cal Poly and did not return... Stephen Maxwell (14.7 ppg) and Josh Greene (12.6 ppg) are also in double figures while Maxwell leads the team at 8.2 rpg... the Matadors are averaging 76.5 ppg as a team (2nd in the Big West) and shooting .437 from the field while opponents average 75.0 ppg and shoot .467 from the floor.

HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Cal State Northridge, 38-29, and has won three-straight in the series thanks to a 105-86 victory at The Matadome on Jan. 5... the Titans are 8-6 against the Matadors at Titan Gym since the 1989-90 season (when site records are available), having lost four of the last five, but snapping a losing skid with an 87-76 victory last season

LAST TIME OUT -- PACIFIC 71, CAL STATE FULLERTON 67: A basket by Khalil Kelley and four free throws by Sama Taku down the stretch held off a hard-charging Cal State Fullerton squad as host Pacific squeaked out a four-point win in Stockton. Senior D.J. Seeley finished with a game-high 23 points while playing almost the entire 40 minutes, helping the Titans rally from an 11-point second-half deficit with a 15-4 run midway through the period, but Fullerton could not wrest the lead away from the Tigers, going just 1-of-4 with two turnovers down the stretch, including an open shot from beyond the arc with 22 seconds to play that wouldn't fall and the team trailing by two. Sophomore Alex Harris finished with 19 points and Kwame Vaughn narrowly missed out on a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.

LAST TIME VS. NORTHRIDGE -- CAL STATE FULLERTON 105, CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE 86: Behind a career-high 37-point outburst by senior D.J. Seeley, one of three Titans with 20-or-more points on the night, Fullerton raced to a 105-86 win over the Matadors in Northridge on Jan. 5. The Titans shot 58 percent for the game, using a 17-7 run early in the second half to break open a back-and-forth contest as Fullerton led by as many as 22 points with 5:21 to play in the game.

TITANS' OFFENSE BACK IN THE NCAA TOP THREE: A sixth-game of 90-plus points at UC Davis last week has helped catapult the Titans back among the nation's top-three scoring offenses as Fullerton ranked No. 3 in the NCAA at 82.1 ppg -- one of only five teams entering this week averaging better than 80 points per game, joining Northwestern State (83.7 ppg), Indiana (83.3 ppg), Iona (81.8 ppg), and Ole Miss (80.3 ppg).

ELSEWHERE IN THE NATION: Fullerton also ranks among the top five teams in the NCAA in free throw percentage (4th, .781) while standing in the top 10 in three-pointers per game (7th, 9.1 pg), three-point percentage (8th, .406), and total points (10th, 1641 points). The Titans are also among the top 25 teams in the nation in field goal percentage (13th, .489), assists (17th, 16.2 apg), and turnover margin (24th, +3.7).

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 week as D.J. Seeley (2nd, 19.2 ppg), Kwame Vaughn (3rd, 17.8 ppg), and Sammy Yeager (9th, 15.0 ppg) all make the cut while both Seeley (No. 26) and Vaughn (No. 53) 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 13 times in 20 games this season, including the trio all reaching at least 20 points at Cal State Northridge on Jan. 5 at The Matadome as part of a 105-86 Fullerton victory. The trio has combined to score just over 63 percent (1,038 of 1,641) of the team's points this season.

BIG AL: Sophomore Alex Harris, playing just over an hour away from his hometown of Richmond, Calif., experienced his finest offensive game as a Titan last weekend at Pacific, scoring a Fullerton career-high with 19 points on 6-of-12 from the field, including five makes from beyond the arc. He also grabbed six rebounds for the second-straight game and finished with a pair of steals to move into the league's top 10 in that category entering the week. Harris has reached double figures in 11 of the team's 20 contests this season, including four of the last six, and has started the team's last 11 games after coming off the bench to begin the year.

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 four contests and posting just a 1-3 mark over that span. Overall, Fullerton has trailed at the break only five times in 20 contests this season, posting a 2-3 record in those games.

30-30(-30) VISION: He's seeing the hoop well. Seeley's 32 points on Jan. 24 at UC Davis marked the senior guard's third, 30-point performance of the season, joining his 32-point effort against Southern Utah on Nov. 17 and his career-high 37-point night against the Matadors in Northridge earlier this month. He is the first Titan to do so in that many games since Josh Akognon reached the mark six times (including a pair of 41-point games) in 2008-09.

CAN'T NOBODY HOLD HIM DOWN: Since being held to a season-low five points against UC Irvine on Jan. 17, Seeley is averaging 24.0 ppg over his last three contests while shooting 50 percent (26-for-52) from the floor, better than 52 percent (11-for-21) from behind the arc, and grabbing 5.7 rpg, dishing out 3.67 apg, and swiping 2.67 spg.

REBOUNDING, BROUGHT TO YOU BY WINDEX: Cal State Fullerton was very efficient in cleaning the glass during its trip to Northern California, outrebounding both UC Davis (32-27) and Pacific (33-28) for the team's first advantage on the boards since a plus-10 on Dec. 22 against Hope International. The Titans have outrebounded an opponent only seven times in 20 games overall this season and are 5-2 in those contests.

NOT HALF BAD: Fullerton shot 55 percent from the field against UC Davis -- the 10th time that the Titans have shot at least 50 percent from the field (9-1 overall) this season, but the first since a 74-62 win over Bakersfield on Jan. 9.

NOT HALF BAD, PART II: Fullerton's 55 points in the second half against the Aggies marked the eighth time that the Titans have scored at least 50 points in a half this season.

BEST IN THREE'S: Cal State Fullerton hit 12 three-pointers in both of its contests at UC Davis and Pacific last week, giving the Titans double-digit makes in that catgeory for the seventh and eighth times this season. The Matadors, who enter the week ranked sixth in the league in three-point defense, may be in for a rough night on Thursday if history holds true as Fullerton tends to experience runs like these in "three's" after the Titans reached double figures in three-pointers made in three-straight games from Nov. 23-Dec. 2 (Southern Utah, Green Bay, San Diego Christian) and again from Dec. 29-Jan. 5 (UC Santa Barbara, Hawaii, Cal State Northridge).

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 12 of the team's 20 games overall (including eight of the last 10), enters the week ranked atop the league at 34.5 mpg while Seeley, who has eight games of 35 minutes or more -- and has reached that mark in five of his last six -- is tied for third at 33.5 mpg. Yeager, who has played at least 35 minutes in six of his last seven, is eighth in the conference at 31.6 mpg while Harris is mere percentage points outside the top 10 at 31.0 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 (.489 to UC Davis' .475), three-point percentage (.406 to UC Davis' .390), and free throw percentage (.781 to Cal Poly's .741).

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 .459 mark from beyond the arc also has him ranked No. 9 in the nation entering this week.

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 8-1 this season when hitting the mark 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).

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 14 games due to injury in December.

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. 

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 week, along with Long Beach State's Mike Caffey. 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 tied for fourth in steals (1.7 spg).

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 6-6 when that occurs in 2012-13... the duo has reached 20 points in the same game 13 times during their Fullerton careers (eight of those coming last season and four times this year), posting an 8-5 mark in those contests (5-0 at home, 3-4 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 (21) and is just one of four in double figures along with teammate Vaughn (17), Northridge's Stephan Hicks (13), and UC Irvine's Daman Starring (10)... Vaughn, Seeley, Hicks, and UC Davis' Corey Hawkins share the league lead with eight, 20-point games this season.