Men's Basketball to Head to No. 21 St. Mary's, Host Bethesda
FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton men's basketball returns to the road to face No. 21 St. Mary's (CA) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. PT in Moraga, Calif. Following that game, CSF will host Bethesda on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the first home game of the season for the squad.
FROM THE TIP
• The Titans return to the court after falling to No. 10/11 USC on the road in the season-opening game on Nov. 10. Jackson Rowe led the way with 12 points and eight rebounds and Khalil Ahmad tacked on nine points as well. The schedule doesn't get any easier for CSF as the squad takes on another ranked opponent on the road in St. Mary's (CA). Following that game, the Titans host Bethesda in the first home game of the season at Titan Gym.
• Junior guard Khalil Ahmad is the team's top returning scorer as he averaged 11.2 points per game in 21 games played.
• Ahmad and sophomore forward Jackson Rowe are the last two Big West Freshman of the Year honorees. Rowe scored 10.4 points per game last year and led the team in rebounding with 7.2 per game.
• Junior guard Kyle Allman is the team's third returning starter that averaged double figures last season, at 10.2 points per game.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15 at ST. MARY'S || 7:00 PM PT
Series Record: Tied at 5-5
Home Record: 3-1
Away Record: 2-3
Neutral Record: 0-1
Current Streak: Lost 3
First Meeting: 12/30/83 vs. SMC, W, 71-53
Last Meeting: 12/28/08 vs. SMC, L, 54-79 (neutral in Anaheim)
• St. Mary's is 2-0 to start the year after defeating St. Francis (Pa) and New Mexico State. Wednesday's matchup against CSF will end the Gaels' three-game homestand to start the season.
• In 2016-17, the Gaels averaged 60.2 possessions per 40 minutes which was the second-fewest mark of all 351 DI teams in the country. To start the 2017-18 season, SMC averages 67.8 possessions per 40 minutes and only one team has fewer possessions per game than the Gaels this year as well.
• The Gaels were picked as preseason favorites in the West Coast Conference poll. The team began this season ranked No. 22/22 in the preseason polls. Last year the Gaels finished the season with a school record 29 wins for the second straight year, earned a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and reached the round of 32.
• Randy Bennett enters his 17th season at Saint Mary's. He is the school's all-time leader in wins and ranks second in all-time wins for any coach in the West Coast Conference.
• Seniors Emmett Naar, Calvin Hermanson and Jock Landale were all honored on the preseason WCC team.
• After a breakout 206-17 season, Landale has been named to several key watch lists: Citizen Naismith Trophy (Nov. 9), Lou Henson Watch List (Nov. 8) for Division I best mid-major player, Lute Olsen Watch List (Nov. 7) for best Division I player, Oscar Robertson Watch List (Nov. 6) and Abdul-Jabbar Watch List (Oct. 21). The senior center leads the Gaels and the WCC after averaging 16.9 ppg, and 9.5 rpg in 2016-17. Landale was named on the preseason First Team by the Blue Ribbon. Landale became the first Gael named AP Honorable Mention since Matthew Dellavedova in 2012-13.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18 vs. BETHESDA || 2:00 PM PT
Series Record: CSF leads 1-0
Home Record: 1-0
Away Record: 0-0
Neutral Record: 0-0
Current Streak: Won 1
First Meeting: 12/30/16 vs. Bethesda, W, 99-56
• Bethesda University is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAC) and the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC). The Flames are 3-4 (2-0 PCAC) on the year and have played two exhibition games against UC Davis and Pacific.
• The Flames average scoring 68.3 points per game but allow 73.4 points. Ammar Rehman leads the team in scoring in 15.3 points per game and hauls in 5.7 rebounds per game.
• Michael Morrissey (11.0 ppg) and Isaiah Hicks (10.1 ppg) are the team's other double figure scorers.
The Titans welcome seven newcomers to the squad this season, five of which are freshmen and two are junior college transfers. The freshmen include Daniel Venzant, Johnny Wang, Josh Pitts, Gaber Ozegovic and Landon Kirkwood. Ian Fox and Dominik Heinzl joined CSF after two years at the junior college level.
BIG WEST FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR THREE-PEAT?
Junior guard Khalil Ahmad and sophomore Jackson Rowe are the last two 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.
Cal State Fullerton's five freshmen will attempt to continue that streak this season.
The Titans open the season at two nationally-ranked opponents. The Titans fell to then-No. 10/11 USC and then travel to No. 21 St. Mary's. The Titans could face St. Mary's again in the Wooden Legacy Classic. Georgia is receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll and Harvard is receiving votes in both polls.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Titans will look to snap a streak of seven straight losses on the road to non-conference opponents against St. Mary's on Wednesday.
ALL EYES ON ME
The Titans will be on the ESPN family of Networks at least seven times this season. At the minimum, two games will be broadcast on Fox Sports West and two games are being televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
AROUND THE WORLD
The Titans have five student-athletes, including three of the newcomers, on the team from outside the United States. Senior Arkim Robertson hails from St. John's, Grenada and sophomore Jackson Rowe is a native of Toronto, Ontario in Canada. Junior Dominik Heinzl is from Uzov, Czech Republic, freshman Gaber Ozegovic hails from Kranj, Slovenia and freshman Johnny Wang is a native of Beijing, China.
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