FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton men's basketball resumes Big West Conference play on Thursday at UC Irvine at 7:30 p.m. PT on Fox Sports West. CSF returns home to Titan Gym on Saturday to host UC Davis at 6 p.m. PT on ESPN3.
FROM THE TIP
• The Titans began Big West Conference play with a win at home against UC Riverside and an overtime victory at Cal Poly to sit atop the conference standings. This week, the Titans face the defending regular season Big West Champions in UC Irvine and the defending Big West Conference Tournament Champions in UC Davis.
• Junior guard Kyle Allman, Jr., the reigning Big West Player of the Week, is tops on the team and third in the Big West Conference in scoring at 17.5 ppg on 47.5 percent shooting from the field. He's second on the team in assists at 2.4 per game (34 total) and is first on the team in steals with 17 (1.21 per game). Allman has scored 20+ points five times this season and 30+ points on three occasions. The Brooklyn native has scored in double figures in nine of the last 10 games.
• Junior guard Khalil Ahmad, the Big West Player of the Week on Dec. 11, is second on the squad and sixth in the Big West in scoring at 15.8 points per game. He is the team's most prolific three-point shooter at 28-80 (35.0%) from beyond the arc. Ahmad is shooting 86.0% percent from the free-throw line this year, the No. 2 mark in the BWC and No. 74 in the nation.
• Sophomore forward Jackson Rowe is first in the conference in field goal percentage at 61.0 (61-100). Rowe is one of three Titans to average double figures in scoring at 13.1 per game. He leads the team in rebounding, hauling in 6.5 per game and is also shooting 56.0 percent (14-25) from beyond the arc, the top mark in the Big West.
• CSF ranks very well as a defense in opponent field goal percentage (40.9%, No. 3 in BWC, No. 63 in the nation) and the Titans commit the fewest fouls in the conference.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 11 AT UC IRVINE || 7:30 PM PT
Series Record: 53-52
Home Record: 24-24
Away Record: 23-26
Neutral Record: 6-2
Current Streak: Won one
First Meeting: 1/15/66 at UC Irvine, L, 74-68
Last Meeting: 02/22/17 vs. UC Irvine, W, 75-62
UC IRVINE NOTES
• The Anteaters, the reigning Big West Champions, boast an overall record of 6-12 and are 1-1 in league play. Evan Leonard leads the team in scoring at 11.2 points per game and right behind at 11.1 points per game is Eyassu Worku. Worku is the team's leader in assists at 3.67 per game.
• UCI leads the league and is 51st in the nation in blocks per game at 4.7. Four student-athletes have 10+ blocks and they are led by Jonathan Galloway who has blocked 34 on the year and 1.89 per game.
• UC Irvine owns the backboard, it has a rebounding margin of +6.9 for the season and is ninth in the nation in total rebounds per game at 41.72. The Anteaters are first in the league and 31st in the country at 12.89 offensive rebounds per game.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 13 VS UC DAVIS || 6 PM PT
Series Record: 15-14
Home Record: 9-5
Away Record: 6-7
Neutral Record: 0-2
Current Streak: Lost one
First Meeting: 12/1/61 vs. UC Davis (Anaheim), W, 85-56
Last Meeting: 3/10/17 vs. UC Davis (Anaheim), L, 66-64 (OT)
UC DAVIS NOTES
• The Aggies, the reigning Big West Conference Tournament Champions, are 10-5 this season and 1-0 in league play and are right behind the Titans in the conference standings. The Aggies defeated the Titans in overtime of the conference tournament semifinals in 2017.
• Chima Moneke averages a double-double for the season with 19.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. His nine double-doubles on the year rank 14th in the country and he hauls in 7.93 defensive rebounds per game, the No. 12 mark in the nation.
• TJ Shorts II is second on the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game and he leads the Aggies in assists at 3.53. Siler Schneider is third in scoring at 12.7 points per game and is the only other Aggie to average double figures in scoring.
• UC Davis has a very slow style of play, averaging just 66.7 possessions per 40 minutes which is good for 305th in the nation.
• The Aggies put pressure on the opposing offenses, they are 35th in the nation in turnovers forced at 16.33 per game and they are first in the conference and 43rd in the country in steals per game at 8.0. Per 100 possessions, UCD allows 98.4 points per game (73rd in the nation).
SET THE TABLE
For CSF, Sophomore guard Austen Awosika is third on the team in rebounding at 4.4 per game and leads the squad in assists at 3.3. He has hauled in at least three rebounds in 13 of 14 games this season. He has assisted on a team-high 23.4% of his teammates field goals while he's on the court and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.00, also the best mark on the team and third-best in the Big West. Awosika also leads the team in +/- rating at a cumulative total of +59 for the season. Essentially, when Awosika has been on the court this season, CSF outscores its opponent by 59 points.
MOVE THE BALL
Head coach Dedrique 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 13.1. At this point in the season, the Titans average 15.3 assists in their nine wins and only 9.0 in their losses. The Titans dished out a season-high 20 assists on Dec. 22 at Loyola Marymount.
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 nine of 11 games, including five games greater than 83%. The Titans have shot 73.0% in wins and 68.9 in losses on the year. The squad is 7-1 when it makes more free throws than the opponent and 6-3 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 15.4 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.
Ahmad also recorded the third-best performance in program history from the free-throw line in a single game. He shot 100% from the stripe on 14 attempts at Utah Valley on Dec. 30.
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 and after 14 games, the team averages 71.6 possessions per 40 minutes (KenPom) which is ranked 81st in the country.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kyle Allman, Jr. was earned Big West Player of the Week honors on Jan. 8 after averaging 23.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in a pair of Titan victories. Over the two wins against UC Riverside (68-65, Jan. 3) and Cal Poly (101-97, Jan. 6), the guard shot 55.2 percent (16 of 29) from the field and connected at 72.2 percent (13 of 18) from the charity stripe.
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 shot 58.8 percent (10-for-17) from distance for the week.
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