FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team begins another three-game road swing on Monday at Saint Mary's in Moraga, Calif.
FROM THE TIP
• Cal State Fullerton returned to Titan Gym last week for two games and will now head back on the road for the next three games.
• Senior guard Khalil Ahmad, the Nov. 19 Big West Player of the Week, is tops on the team and second in the conference in scoring at 19.7 points per game. He had a strong showing at the Myrtle Beach Invitational as he earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Over the three-game tournament he averaged 25.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals, including a career-high 40-point outburst against Monmouth. He's also first in the league in steals per game at 2.11.
• Senior guard Kyle Allman, Jr., Allman is second on the team and third in the Big West in scoring at 19.4 points per game. He's third on the squad in assists and tied a career-high against Wake Forest (Nov. 16) with eight helpers. The Brooklyn native has scored has scored 10+ in 28 of his last 29 games. Allman has scored 30+ six times over the course of this season and last season.
• Ahmad became the 24th Titan in program history to score 1,000 points in a career after scoring 31 at UC Davis (Feb. 10, 2018). He has totaled 1,326 points in his career, the 10th-best mark in the program. Allman joined him in the 1K Club on Feb. 28 when he scored 23 points at CSUN (Feb. 16, 2018). He sits at 1,257 points for his career, No. 12 all-time.
• Junior forward Jackson Rowe has been very effective for the Titans this season, doing a bit of everything on the floor. He is averaging 10.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. He leads the team in both rebounds and blocks, and had a career-high four rejections against Monmouth (Nov. 18). He's shooting an impressive 58.6% (34-58) from the field.. Rowe has played 208 minutes for the Titans this year and the team has out-scored the opponent by 85 points (+16.37 per 40 minutes) in that timeframe, the best mark on the team.
LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN...AND EIGHT
Each of the three times the Titans have qualified for the NCAA Tournament it has been in seasons that end in 7-8. CSF went to the "Elite Eight" in 1977-78, played in the first round in 2007-08 as well as 2017-18. In both 2007-08 and 2017-18, CSF played UC Irvine in the Big West Tournament final and earned victories on both occasions.
2018 BIG WEST TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS
The Titans won the league tournament for the third time in program history. In the quarterfinal round, the No. 4 seeded CSF defeated Long Beach State by a score of 76-74 with the Titans getting a defensive stop on the final possession to secure the win. In the semifinal matchup against No. 1 seed UC Davis, the Titans came back from a 13-point deficit in the second half to beat the Aggies 55-52. After two nail biters, CSF cruised to a 71-55 victory over UC Irvine in the final, leading for over 36 minutes of the game and played what head coach Dedrique Taylor called, the team's best game of the year. The trio of Allman, Ahmad and Rowe combined to score 145 of the 202 points CSF scored in those three games.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 10 AT SAINT MARY'S (CA) || 7 PM PT
Series Record: 5-6
Home Record: 3-4
Away Record: 2-1
Neutral Record: 0-1
Current Streak: L4
First Meeting: 12/30/83 vs. Saint Mary's, W, 71-53
Last Meeting: 11/15/17 at Saint Mary's, L, 76-57
SAINT MARY'S NOTES
The Saint Mary's Gaels are 5-4 on the year and have had a streaky season thus far. They won the first three games of the season, lost the next four and have won the previous two.
The Gaels play a very slow, controlled and efficient brand of basketball. They have the 333rd ranked tempo in the nation at just 66.0 possessions per 40 minutes. The team is also fourth in the country in turnovers per game at just 8.9 turnovers per game. SMC's offense is 23rd in the country in points per 100 possessions at 112.6. The defense, however, is ranked 154th, allowing 102.5 points per 100 possessions.
Jordan Ford is No. 21 in the country in points per game at 22.3 on 49.3% shooting from the field.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
For CSF, junior guard Austen Awosika is fourth on the team in scoring (6.3 points per game), first in assists (4.0 per game), third in blocks (8 total, 0.88 per game), third in steals (1.0 per game) and second in rebounding (4.9 per game). He led the team in the category last year and is tops on the team again this year in assist percentage (an estimate of the percentage of teammate field goals assisted while on the floor) at 23.3%.
FINDING THE RIGHT LINEUPS
The Titans are still early in the season and have dealt with key players missing some games early on but the Titans have found success with the quintet of Kyle Allman, Jr., Austen Awosika, Khalil Ahmad, Johnny Wang and Jackson Rowe. In 30:32 on the floor together, that group has a plus/minus of +27, scoring 75 points and allowing just 48. Replace Wang with Jamal Smith and that group is +23 in 28:56 on the court.
UPDATING THE RECORD BOOKS
In addition to Khalil Ahmad and Kyle Allman, Jr. climbing the rankings of all-time points as a Titan, the duo have both added their names to the list of individual scoring performances in a single game this season. Ahmad scored 40 points against Monmouth (Nov. 18) and had a historic day, setting career highs in points (40), field goals made (13, on just 22 shots) and three-point field goals made (8). He is just the fifth Titan to ever score 40 points or more in a game, joining Bobby Brown, Tre' Coggins, Josh Akognon and Kyle Allman, Jr. Ahmad's 40 points was the highest point total ever in a men's basketball game at the HTC Center, breaking the previous record of 36 set by Quinton Wood on Dec. 13, 2013.
Allman scored 38 points at Hofstra (Nov. 21), tied for the seventh-best scoring performance in a single game in program history and just two points off his career-high. He knocked down a career-high eight three-point field goals, improving on his previous best of five.
Allman now has four of the top 30 scoring performances in CSF history while Ahmad has two.
ONLY TWO NEW FACES
The Titans just two newcomers to the squad this season in freshman guard Wayne Arnold and forward Amel Kuljuhovic. Arnold prepped at Dominguez High School in Compton while Kuljuhovic is a transfer from Lake Land College. Arnold is a high-level shooter he showed against West Coast Baptist when he scored 23 points to lead all scorers, including four three-point field goals. He is averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes per game. Kuljuhovic has the size to work down low but can also stretch the defense with his jump shot. He is averaging 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in 9.0 minutes per game thus far.
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