FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team continues the five-game road trip at Hofstra on Wednesday at 4 p.m. PT and at Sacramento State at 7 p.m. PT.
FROM THE TIP
• Cal State Fullerton won the finale of the Myrtle Beach Invitational over Monmouth and look to wrap up this 13-day road trip with wins at Hofstra and Sacramento State.
• Senior guard Khalil Ahmad, the reigning Big West Player of the Week, 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 40-point outburst against Monmouth. He is 17th in the country, leads the team and conference in scoring at 23.4 points per game on the year. He's also second in the league in steals per game at 2.20.
• Senior guard Kyle Allman, Jr., Allman is second on the squad and fifth in the league in scoring at 17.5 points per game. He's second on the squad in assists and tied a career-high against Wake Forest (Nov. 16) with eight assists. The Brooklyn native has scored has scored 10+ in 24 of his last 25 games.
• 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 1,266 points in his career, the 11th-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 1,172 points for his career, No. 17 all-time.
• Junior forward Jackson Rowe is rounding into form and has been very effective for the Titans thus far this season, doing a bit of everything on the floor. He is averaging 9.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.75 blocks per game. He leads the team in both rebounds and blocks, and had a career-high four rejections against Monmouth. He's shooting an impressive 60.9% (14-23) from the field and 88.9% (8-9) from the charity stripe. Rowe has played 77 minutes for the Titans this year and the team has out-scored the opponent by 60 points (+31.28 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.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 21 AT HOFSTRA || 4 PM PT
Series Record: 0-0
Home Record: 0-0
Away Record: 0-0
Neutral Record: 0-0
Current Streak: N/A
First Meeting: N/A
Last Meeting: N/A
Hofstra is 2-2 this season with wins over Mount St. Mary's and North Carolina A&T and close losses on the road to Marshall and Maryland. In the Pride's last game, senior Justin Wright-Foreman led the team with 27 points, while also tying for team-high honors with five rebounds and knocking down 11-12 from the charity stripe. Hofstra got a nice boost from junior Tareq Coburn who had 10 points, marking his career-high, while junior Eli Pemberton also added 10 points in the contest.
Wright-Foreman is averaging a robust 25.8 points per game this season to lead the team. He is joined in double figures by Pemberton with 16.5 points per outing and senior Desure Buie with 10.3. Buie and Wright-Foreman lead the team with 15 assists this year, while Pemberton is tops on the squad with 6.0 rebounds per outing.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24 AT SACRAMENTO STATE || 7 PM PT
Series Record: 7-7
Home Record: 6-3
Away Record: 1-4
Neutral Record: 0-0
Current Streak: W1
First Meeting: 12/08/60 vs. Sacramento State, W, 79-68
Last Meeting: 11/24/17 vs. Sacramento State, W, 68-63
SACRAMENTO STATE NOTES
The Hornets, who had a home game against Cal Poly last Friday canceled because of poor air quality from the Camp Fire, will enter the game with a 1-0 record. The team has not played since beating Simpson, 76-52, in the season opener on Nov. 9.
The Hornets are coming off an injury plagued 2017-18 season in which the team finished 7-25 overall and 4-14 in the Big Sky Conference. The Hornets had won at least 13 games five consecutive seasons until the seven-win output a year ago.
The Hornets welcome back eight players and a redshirt from a year ago, including three starters. That includes six of the top eight scorers from last season.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
For CSF, junior guard Austen Awosika is fifth on the team in scoring (5.2 points per game), first in assists (4.8 per game), tied for first in blocks (7 total, 1.4 per game), second in steals (1.0 per game) and third in rebounding (4.6 per game). He does a bit of everything for the Titans and has been in control throughout the year with just 10 turnovers, marking a 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio that is third in the league. 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 27.0%.
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, Jamal Smith and Jackson Rowe. In 6:05 on the floor together, that group has at plus-minus of +18, scoring 22 points and allowing just four. In addition, Allman, Ahmad, Clare, Awosika and Kuljuhovic are +6 in 11:47 together.
UPDATING THE RECORD BOOKS
Last season, Allman had his name etched into the Cal State Fullerton record book after The Wooden Legacy over Thanksgiving weekend. Allman poured in a-then career-high 34 points against Georgia (Nov. 23), one of the best scoring performances in program history. He then had the fifth-best scoring performance in CSF history on Jan. 27 at Hawai'i when he scored 40 points on 16-19 shooting.
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.
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 threes made. He 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.
Ahmad had a historic day against Monmouth (Nov. 18), 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. He also chipped in five rebounds and tied a career-high with four steals.
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 6.8 points and 14.2 minutes per game. Kuljuhovic has the size to work down low but can also stretch the defense with his jump shot. He is averaging 2.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 9.2 minutes per game thus far.
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