MBB Drops Conference Opener at Hawai’i

Khalil Ahmad. Credit Sacramento State Athletics
Khalil Ahmad. Credit Sacramento State Athletics

HONOLULU – Cal State Fullerton men's basketball dropped the first Big West Conference matchup of the season on Wednesday night when it fell to Hawai'i at the Stan Sheriff Center by a score of 79-68. Four Rainbow Warriors were in double figures, led by Sheriff Drammeh with 23 points.

In a close game that saw the lead change hands three times and the game tied on 10 occasions, Hawai'i made the big shots down the stretch to pull away and secure the victory. The Rainbow Warriors shot 11-22 from beyond the arc, hitting eight of those in the second half and four in the last five minutes of the game.

Fullerton led 34-31 at the halftime break but were out-scored 48-34 in the second frame. The game was tied  at 41 at the 13:12 of the second half when Hawai'i went on an 11-2 run over the next 2:49 to 52-43 and secure a lead they would not relinquish. The Titans cut it to three at 63-60 with 3:43 left but the Rainbow Warriors closed the game on a 16-8 run.

Drammeh had 23 points (6-11 FGA, 4-7 3FGA, 7-8 FTA), six rebounds and two assists. Eddie Stansberry was also 6-11 from the floor including 4-8 from three with 16 points. Jack Purchase had a double-double with 14 points (3-5 3FGA) and 11 rebounds and Brocke Stepteau contributed 10 points (6-6 FTA) and four assists.

The Titans had four double-figure scorers as well, led by senior guard Khalil Ahmad with a game-high 24 points (9-18 FGA, 6-8 FTA). Senior guard Kyle Allman, Jr. had 14 points and two rebounds while juniors Austen Awosika (12 points, eight rebounds, two assists and four steals) and Jackson Rowe (10 points and eight rebounds) score 10+ as well. Rowe and Awosika each hauled in seven or more rebounds for third straight game.

Fullerton shot 48.0 percent (24-50) from the field, 28.6 percent (4-14) from distance and 66.7 percent (16-24) at the charity stripe.

The Titans return home to face UC Irvine on Saturday at 6 p.m. PT.

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