FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team hosts UC Davis on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. PT on the second leg of a doubleheader with the women's basketball team. It is also Scout Day as boy and girl scouts will be granted free entrance if they wear their scout uniforms.
FROM THE TIP
• The Titans, winners of eight of their last nine, face UC Davis for the first time this season on Thursday and then head to UC Santa Barbara on Saturday to try and sweep the season series.
• Senior guard Kyle Allman, Jr., the Big West Player of the Week on Jan. 21, is tops on the team and third in the league in points per game at 18.5. He's second on the squad in assists and tied a career-high against Wake Forest (Nov. 16) with eight helpers. Of his 52 assists on the year, 17 of them have been to Jackson Rowe. The Brooklyn native has scored has scored 10+ in 42 of his last 44 games. Allman has scored 30+ eight times over the course of this season and last season. He has scored 20+ in six of the last eight games and nine times total this season.
• Senior guard Khalil Ahmad, the Nov. 19 Big West Player of the Week, is second on the team and fourth in the Big West in scoring at 18.1 points per game. He's also second in the league in steals per game at 1.6. For the year, he's scored 20+ nine times and he's scored 10+ in 12 of the last 14.
• 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 1,589 points in his career, the fourth-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 1,546 points for his career, No. 6 all-time.
• Junior forward Jackson Rowe, the two-time Big West Player of the Week this season (Jan. 7, 28), has been doing a bit of everything on the floor this year for the Titans. He is averaging 11.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.0 blocks per game. He leads the team in both rebounds and blocks and is third in assists. He's shooting an impressive 56.6% (107-189) from the field this year, the No. 2 mark in the league. The Canada native has posted four double-doubles on the year and is averaging 8.7 rebounds per game in league play.
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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.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21 VS. UC DAVIS || 7:30 PM PT
Series Record: 18-14
Home Record: 10-5
Away Record: 7-7
Neutral Record: 1-2
Current Streak: W3
First Meeting: 12/21/61 vs. UC Davis, W, 85-56
Last Meeting: 03/09/18 vs. UC Davis, W, 55-52
UC DAVIS NOTES
The Aggies are 10-14 on the year and 6-4 in league play while currently riding a five-game winning streak. They sit in fourth place in the league standings.
TJ Shorts II, the reigning Big West Player of the Year, leads the team in scoring at 14.2 points, 4.2 assists and 1.7 steals per game. He's also tops in the league in steals.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23 AT UC SANTA BARBARA || 7 PM PT
Series Record: 40-47
Home Record: 23-20
Away Record: 15-26
Neutral Record: 1-1
Current Streak: W1
First Meeting: 12/29/76 at UCSB, W, 77-66
Last Meeting: 01/24/19 vs. CSUN, W, 81-60
The Gauchos are 17-8 overall and 6-5 in the conference and are in the middle of a three-game losing skid. They are 10-2 at home this year in The Thunderdome.
Ar'mond Davis leads the team and is ninth in the league in scoring at 13.6 points per game as the Gauchos have five players averaging double figures. Amadou Sow is tops in the league in field goal percentage at 57.1 while scoring 11.2 points per game.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
For CSF, junior guard Austen Awosika is fourth on the team in scoring (8.7 points per game), first in assists (97 total, 3.88 per game), second in blocks (15 total), second in steals (1.44 per game) and second in rebounding (5.3 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 23.8%. He has the third-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the league at 1.8. In conference play he's averaging 10.0 points per game (No. 4 on the team) on 53.4% shooting from the field. He dished out a career-high 11 assists at UCR on Feb. 9.
Per KenPom, the Titans have the No. 14 ranked non-conference schedule in the country. The squad played just four non-conference home games.
A NEW SEASON
The Titans have been a different team thus far in Big West Conference play. Over nine games the team is shooting 47.6% from the field, and has shot better than 50% in seven of those games while holding the opponents to a collective 42.1% shooting.
Fullerton has averaged 17.1 made free throws during league play while the opponents have made just 10.8 per game.
50 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
Dating back to last season, the Titans are undefeated when shooting 50% or better from the field. In a sense, that isn't all that surprising since teams usually win when they shoot the ball well. However, the Titans are 7-0 this year and were 14-0 last year when eclipsing the 50% mark, and that feels impressive.
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 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.
Allman is also on pace to end his career having played the most games in a Titan uniform in program history. He currently sits at 118, just behind Gary Davis holds the record at 121. Ahmad is ninth at 108 games played.
Jackson Rowe is seventh all-time in career rebounds with 593, just behind CSF legend Cedric Ceballos.
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 as he showed against West Coast Baptist when he scored 23 points to lead all scorers, including four three-point field goals. He is averaging 3.5 points and 11.6 minutes per game. He has scored six, 10 and seven points off the bench in each of the last three games. Kuljuhovic has the size to work down low but can also stretch the defense with his jump shot. He is averaging 2.5 points and 23 rebounds in 9.1 minutes per game. He scored 7 points and hauled in 7 rebounds at San Francisco (Dec. 16).
BIG WEST FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR HISTORY
Senior guard Khalil Ahmad and junior forward Jackson Rowe are two of the last three Big West Freshman of the Year honorees. Ahmad put together one of the best freshman campaigns in program history during the 2015-16 season. He holds the freshman school records in points (429), scoring average (14.3), field goals made (138) and free throws made, attempted and percentage (112-144, .778).
Rowe claimed the award in 2016-17 by scoring 10.4 points per game (No. 4 in CSF freshman history) and 7.2 rebounds per game (No. 2 in CSF freshman history). Rowe also shot 55.2 percent from the field on the year, the second-best mark in school history for freshmen.
AROUND THE WORLD
The Titans have four student-athletes on the team from outside the United States. Junior Jackson Rowe is a native of Toronto, Ontario in Canada. Senior Dominik Heinzl is from Uzov, Czech Republic, redshirt freshman Gaber Ozegovic hails from Kranj, Slovenia and sophomore Johnny Wang is a native of Beijing, China. Not only international but the Titans are spread out among the country, with student-athletes from Iowa, New York, Texas and Minnesota.