Cal State Northridge (6-6, 0-2) at Pacific (7-4, 2-0), 7, KCSN-FM (88.5) -- Two teams going in opposite directions. Northridge, which begins a three-game road trip, has lost four straight. Pacific has won six in a row, including a 66-54 victory over Utah State eight days ago that now leaves the Tigers all alone in first place in the Big West Conference. Guard Demetrius Jackson leads Pacific in scoring (15.9 points) and assists ( 3.4). Tiger freshman forward Christian Maraker averages 13.9 points and 6.9 rebounds.
UC Irvine (7-4, 1-1) at UC Riverside (2-7, 1-2), 7, KUCI-FM (88.9), KUCR-FM (88.3), KPRO (1570) -- The Anteaters lack leadership on the floor, Coach Pat Douglass admits, and that was evident in Wednesday's stunning 66-65 overtime loss at Cal State Fullerton. On paper Irvine should have little trouble with the Highlanders, who don't have the height to rebound with the Anteaters. But if Riverside, which made 10 of 17 three-point attempts in Thursday's 77-73 victory over visiting Long Beach State, continues to make key shots, the Highlanders won't go easy.
Long Beach State (1-10, 0-2) at Cal State Fullerton (4-8, 2-1), 7, KRLA (870), KWRM (1370) -- A couple of bookends with similar styles square off, with Fullerton having the decided advantage by playing at home. Despite injuries to key players and the lingering suspension of center Pape Sow for shoplifting, the Titans have won two in a row and say they have new-found confidence in themselves. Long Beach has lost nine in a row and has yet to beat a Division I team, but came close Thursday in a 77-73 defeat at UC Riverside.
UC Santa Barbara (5-8, 2-1) at Utah State (11-3, 2-1), 7 PST, ESPN2, KEYT (1250) -- This is a rematch of last season's Big West Conference tournament championship game in which the Gauchos stunned perennial favorite Utah State. On Thursday forward Mark Hull scored a team-high 21 points and had four assists in Santa Barbara's 62-53 victory at Idaho. The team's leading scorer, guard Branduinn Fullove, made his first Big West start after recovering from a groin pull and scored 12 points. Desmond Penigar (20 points) was one of four Aggies in double figures Thursday in Utah State's 81-67 victory over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
-- Paul McLeod
Loyola Marymount (6-10, 0-1) at Portland (7-7, 0-1), 7, KXLU-FM (88.9) --Loyola opened West Coast Conference play Thursday with an 85-73 loss to defending champion Gonzaga. It was the Lions' third defeat in a row and seventh in eight games. Freshman guard Brandon Worthy was among the bright spots for Loyola, scoring 12 points on 100% shooting from the field and the foul line, and contributing seven assists. Portland relies on its backcourt, led by Casey Frandsen and Adam Quick. The Pilots shot only 39.4% in an 82-68 loss to Pepperdine on Thursday.