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Poke Basketball Preview & Prediction: Cal-State Fullerton Titans

Syndication: Arizona Republic Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

What: Wyoming Cowboys at Cal State Fullerton Titans

When: Monday, November 29, 8:00 MT

Where: Titan Gym, Fullerton, California

Stream: ESPN+

Line: Wyoming -4 (via William Hill SB)

Series: Wyoming has played CSUF only one other time in their history, losing to the Titans by a score of 60-53, in 2019.

The Cowboys will put their undefeated streak on the line Monday night against the Titans of Cal-State Fullerton. The Titans come into Monday’s matchup with a record of 3-3 with wins against San Diego, UT Rio Grande and Northern Arizona. The Titans have already faced one Mountain West opponent this year, losing to San Jose State in a very close matchup, by a score of 78-76. Wyoming will be looking for their sixth straight victory to begin the early campaign, and are coming off a huge victory over NAIA Hastings College, by a score of 108-59.

Why the Titans will win:

Not unlike the Cowboys, the Titans are feeling good coming off of three straight victories. They have strong Senior leadership spearheaded by Forward E.J. Anosike, Guard Tray Maddox Jr., and Guard Damari Milstead. The trio has combined to account for over 50% of the team’s points per game and have shot well inside of the three point line while doing so. Anosike has shot a team-high 57.1% from the field, and is averaging just above 18 points per game, so far this season. Dedrique Taylor’s squad has done a good job of taking care of the basketball as well as crashing the offensive boards in recent games, and will look to continue that trend into their contest with Wyoming, a team that could potentially get complacent following a matchup with an NAIA school.

Why the Cowboys will win:

The Pokes are off to a red-hot start and will look to continue that against a Cal-State Fullerton squad who has already tasted three losses to higher-ranking opponents this season. The Cowboys are averaging a healthy 84.6 points per game so far this season and are shooting at a high-clip of 52% from the field, including 41% from three point range. The Cowboys have had a number of contributors this season with five players averaging double-digits in points. Graham Ike leads the team, averaging 19.2 points per game, while Senior Floor General Hunter Maldonado is also averaging a healthy 19 points 7 rebounds and 5 assists to go along with Ike. Drake Jeffries has also turned it up in recent weeks, averaging 13 points while shooting over 57% from three, including a 33-point downpour performance last Friday. The Cowboys have also passed the ball extremely well in recent weeks, assisting on nearly 47% of their field goals, compared to the Titans’ 37%. Wyoming has managed to hold their opponents to 33.1% shooting from the field which is the third lowest percentage in Division 1 basketball, as of right now. If Jeff Linder’s squad can come out with a similar energy that they’ve had all season long, they have the necessary talent and leadership to win on Monday night.

Prediction:

All signs point to a Wyoming victory on Monday, but the Pokes can’t get complacent after coming off of a tune-up victory over Hastings College. CSUF was able to give San Jose State a run for its money, and that should put the Pokes on high-alert. They are also a confident and surging bunch themselves having won their last three matchups. Being that Wyoming likes to apply defensive pressure and the Titans aren’t particularly great from the field, I like Wyoming by a decent margin.

Final Score:

Wyoming 83

Cal-State Fullerton 74