First look at SDSU’s Non-Conference Opponent CSU Fullerton

Nathan Mensah battles for a rebound against Cal State Fullerton's Vincent Lee and Grayson Carper in 2021. Credit Don De Mars/EVT

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Nathan Mensah attempts a free throw against CSU Fullerton in 2021. Credit Don De Mars/EVT

Name of the University – Cal State Fullerton

Date of the gameNov 7, 2022

Conference – Big West Conference

All-time series record – SDSU is leading 22-10 overall against CSUF.

Brian Dutcher starts his sixth season as the head coach of the San Diego State University Aztecs on November 7, when the Cal State Fullerton Titans travel to Viejas Arena in San Diego to compete for the 33rd time in school history. The Aztecs currently lead the series between the two universities, which dates back to 1964, with 22 wins and only ten losses. The Aztecs boast a 13-4 record in games in America’s Finest City, including a 66-56 victory last year.

Last meeting between the two

In the last season’s meeting, the Aztecs jumped out to a fourteen-point lead in the first half despite the loss of starting guard Lamont Butler to a fractured wrist two games prior. The Titans managed to make a second-half comeback cutting the lead to one point with four minutes left in the game. Cal Berkeley transfer, Matt Bradley, took control late in crunch time with a couple of baskets and a key assist to senior guard Adam Seiko. Dutcher’s defense held the Titans shooting 38.9 percent from the field, while San Diego State’s starting backcourt contributed to six of the team’s eight three-point field goals for the game.

Most memorable matchup 

In 2009, Kawhi Leonard put on a stellar performance introducing himself as one of the best freshmen in the nation. Leonard finished the night with twenty-three points and eighteen rebounds, season highs in both categories for him at the time of the matchup. Jer’Vaughn Johnson, a transfer from SDSU the season prior, kept the Titans in the game with 19 points shooting 53% from the field. Johnson fouling out with 5 minutes left in the contest was vital for the push Leonard, and the Aztecs made to end the game with a double-digit 82-68 victory.

Runner up: in 1970, SDSU dismantled CSUF 112-66. The 46-point margin of victory in the ninth most lopsided win for the Aztecs in program history.

Adam Seiko guards Latrell Wrightsell Jr. last year. Credit Don De Mars/EVT

Outlook for Cal State Fullerton in 2022

The Titans ended last season with a hard-fought 78-61 loss to the Duke Bluedevils and head coach Mike Krzyzewski. It was Krzyzewski’s last first-round NCAA tournament game in his illustrious career. CSUF finished their 2021-2022 season as champions of the Big West conference for the third time in school history. They compiled a record of 21-11 overall. Last year marked the fourth time the Titans have made the NCAA tournament. It was their second trip under head coach Dedrique Taylor. Taylor is the only CSUF head coach to lead two teams to the tourney. With both leading scorers, E.J. Anosike and Damari Milstead graduating and a couple of key role players transferring out, coach Taylor has a tough task ahead of him.

Spotlight on returning player

Coach Taylor and the Titans are fortunate to have two key starters returning to lead the nine new additions to the roster. CSUF will look to 6’8 forward Vincent Lee and 6’3 guard Tory San Antonio for veteran experience, with Lee averaging 8 points and six rebounds for the Titans in just 27 minutes per game. Tory will be expected to have a bigger playmaking role this year and an increase in playing time from the 22 minutes he averaged last year. Lee was a big contributor by protecting the paint in last year’s matchup with San Diego State. He played 35 minutes and finished with seven points and seven rebounds on the night.

Matt Bradley hunts his shot against Cal State Fullerton in 2021. Credit Don De Mars/EVT

Spotlight on incoming transfer 

The Titans have a few transfer students who are excited to find their fit in coach Taylor’s offense. Max Jones, one of the top D2 prospects in the country, is a 6’5 junior who averaged 22.3 points in two seasons at the University of Tampa. The three-level scorer joins the roster with three years of eligibility left due to COVID-19 and will have a chance this upcoming season to make a name for himself on the D1 level. 

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Cal State Fullerton was also able to land Deashawn Eaton, a guard from Howard Community College, where he became the only freshman to make first-team all-conference and first-team all-region. As of today, he is arguably one of the best players in history for the school, being the first player to score 1,000 points in the modern era.

Credit Twitter @howardccdragons

There is plenty of opportunity for the two to thrive for the Titans. It is just a matter of time to see the impact Jones and Eaton have on the program. Both players will need to acclimate quickly if Fullerton is going to be able to pull off an upset over the Aztecs in November. 

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