Men's Basketball Looks to Continue Streak at Cal on Saturday
Cal State Fullerton Game Notes (PDF) | California Game Notes (PDF)
FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton men's basketball is back on the road this weekend as it takes its five-game winning streak to Haas Pavilion to face the California Golden Bears. Saturday's game will tip off at 1 p.m. PT and be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks.
FROM THE TIP
• The Titans take their five-game winning streak on the road to Haas Pavilion on Saturday to square off against the California Golden Bears. This matchup is the first between the two programs since 1987 and just the second all-time. CSF will hit the road for five of its next six games
• The Titans have one of the best defenses in the Big West Conference and rank very well in statistical categories such as opponent field goal percentage (40.9%, No. 79 mark in the nation, No. 4 in BWC), opponent three-point field goal percentage (29.3%, No. 34 in the country, No. 3 in BWC) and points allowed per game (65.6, No. 64 in the nation, No. 2 in BWC) Also, the Titans commit the fewest fouls per game in the league at 17.6.
• Sophomore forward Jackson Rowe is third in the conference in field goal percentage at 62.9 (39-62). Rowe is one of three Titans to average double figures in scoring at 12.9 per game. He leads the team in rebounding at 5.8 per game and is tied for fourth in the league at 1.0 blocks per game. He is also shooting a remarkable 70.6 percent (12-17) from beyond the arc.
• Junior guard Kyle Allman, Jr. is tops on the team in scoring at 16.1 on 48.4 percent shooting from the field. He's tied for second on the team in assists at 2.2 per game (20 total) and is first on the team in steals with 10.
• Junior guard Khalil Ahmad, the reigning Big West Player of the Week, is second on the squad in scoring at 14.3 points per game. He combined to score 58 points in his last two games, pouring in 24 in a win at Portland and a career-high 34 in a win over Utah Valley. He leads the team in three-point shooting at 39.6 percent (19-48).
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16 AT CALIFORNIA || 1 PM PT
Series Record: 0-1
Home Record: 0-0
Away Record: 0-1
Neutral Record: 0-0
Current Streak: Lost One
First Meeting: 03/13/87 at California, L, 68-72 (OT)
Last Meeting: 03/13/87 at California, L, 68-72 (OT)
• The Golden Bears are 4-6 this season and 3-3 at home. The team is led by junior guard Don Coleman who averages 20.6 points per game. Marcus Lee (11.7 ppg), Justice Sueing (11.6 ppg) and Darius McNeill (11.4 ppg) also average double figures in points. Despite having four double-figure scorers, Cal has the No. 209 ranked offense in the nation, scoring just 101.9 points per 100 possessions (KenPom).
• Wyking Jones is in his first year as head of the Golden Bears after serving as assistant coach to Cuonzo Martin for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
• Califorina has had an up and down year, winning its most recent game at San Diego State but it lost at home to Central Arkansas by 27 points prior to that. The Golden Bears lost to Chaminade in the finale of the Maui Invitational by 24 points then won at home against Cal State Northridge.
• The team is 11th in the nation and first in the Pac-12 in blocks per game at 6.2. Kingsley Okoroh leads the team with 25 and Marcus Lee has 24 on the year.
SET THE TABLE
Sophomore guard Austen Awosika is second on the team in rebounding at 5.2 per game and leads the squad in assists at 3.2. He has hauled in at least four rebounds in five straight games and seven of the last eight. He has assisted on a team-high 25.1% of his teammates field goals while he's on the court. Of the players who have played over 50 minutes this season, Awosika leads the team in +/- rating at +50.
MOVE THE BALL
Taylor has emphasized ball movement to the team and it is still a work-in-progress as the team is sixth in assists per game in the conference at 12.7. It is still a small sample size, but through seven games, the Titans average 15.7 assists in their six wins and only 7.3 in each of their losses.
CSF entered The Wooden Legacy ranked 351st in the nation in free-throw percentage at 49%. Since then, the team has shot better than 70% in five of their six games, including two games greater than 84%. In a small sample size, the Titans have shot 72.8% in their three wins and 57.9 in their three losses on the year. The squad is 5-0 when it makes more free throws than the opponent and 4-2 when it has more attempts.
Taylor has a whiteboard at practice that faces the court and a student manager tracks turnovers and deflections for each individual. It is a point of emphasis for him and the team as he mentions it after every game. The Titans average 14.6 turnovers per game and are still looking to cut that number down.
UPDATING THE RECORD BOOKS
Jackson Rowe and Kyle Allman, Jr. both had their names etched into the Cal State Fullerton record book after The Wooden Legacy over Thanksgiving weekend. Allman poured in a career-high 34 points against Georgia (Nov. 23), one of the best scoring performances in program history. Rowe tied a 37-year old school record for the best field goal percentage in a single game, as he shot 10-10 from the field against Harvard (11/26/17) for a career-high 25 points.
Khalil Ahmad had one of the best scoring performances as well, tying Allman with 34 points of his own against Utah Valley (Dec. 9) with a career-high six three-point field goals.
PICK YOUR SPOTS
The Titans have tried to pick their spots better in transition and slow the game down in order to get better shots and try to cut down on the turnovers. Taylor is still looking for the team to push the ball when they can but after nine games, the team averages 70.0 possessions per 40 minutes (KenPom) which is 183rd in the country.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Khalil Ahmad was named Big West Player of the Week on Dec. 11 for his play over the week of Dec. 4-10. Ahmad earned his first career Big West Men's Basketball Player of the Week award after helping Cal State Fullerton win its fourth and fifth straight games. The 6-4 guard averaged 29.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game as the Titans defeated Portland (76-66) on the road and Utah Valley (91-83) at home. He poured in a career-high 34 points against the Wolverines, aided by a career-best six three-point makes in 10 attempts. He shot 11-for-21 overall against Utah Valley. He scored 24 points at Portland, hitting on 8-for-15 from the field, including 4-for-7 from three-point range. He shot 58.8 percent (10-for-17) from distance for the week.
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