FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton men's basketball is hosting the 2017 Wooden Legacy this week and the Titans open up the competition by facing Georgia at 7:30 p.m. PT on Thursday. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNEWS as well.
FROM THE TIP
• The Titans open up the Wooden Legacy against the Georgia Bulldogs after splitting their two games last week. The team lost at No. 21 St. Mary's and then won the home-opening game on Saturday against Bethesda. CSF is on the side of the bracket that also features San Diego State and Sacramento State.
• The Titans lead the Big West Conference in multiple defensive categories, such as opponent field goal percentage (36.7%, No. 44 mark in the nation), opponent three-point field goal percentage (26.9%), points allowed per game (65.0), defensive rebounds per game (30.0) and rebounding margin (+8.7).
• Senior forward Arkim Roberston averages 3.33 offensive rebounds per game, the second-best mark in the league and top-70 in the country. The team hauls in 16.00 offensive rebounds per game, tops in the conference as well.
• Sophomore forward Jackson Rowe leads the team in scoring (12.5 ppg) and rebounding (6.5 rpg). Junior guard Khalil Ahmad is second on the squad in scoring at 10.0 ppg followed by junior guard Kyle Allman, Jr. at 9.0 ppg.
With the Big West Conference hosting the event for the 11th time, the 2017 Wooden Legacy will be played at Titan Gym on the campus of Cal State Fullerton where the school has been hosting the tournament since 2013. The Titans will also compete in the 2017 Wooden Legacy for the third time with other appearances in 2008 and 2013.
Other schools in the 2017 Wooden Legacy are Georgia (Southeastern), Harvard (Ivy League), Saint Joseph's (Atlantic 10), Sacramento State (Big Sky), Saint Mary's (West Coast), San Diego State (Mountain West) and Washington State (Pac-12). All 12 games of the 2017 Wooden Legacy will be televised on ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS or ESPN3.
The Wooden Legacy was formed in June 2013 as two vibrant, nationally-recognized in-season collegiate basketball events joined forces as the John R. Wooden Classic was merged with the Anaheim Classic that had been played the previous six years (2007-2012) at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Wooden Classic was staged 19 years (1994-2012) at Honda Center with the first 17 events being college doubleheaders.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 23 vs. GEORGIA || 7:30 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
• The Bulldogs are 3-0 on the year with wins over Bryant, USC Upstate and Texas A&M - Corpus Christi and are receiving votes in the USA Today/Coaches Poll. Yante Maten leads the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 20.7 points and 13.0 rebounds per game. Rayshaun Hammonds (15.0 ppg) are the only two players on the team to average scoring in double figures.
• Yante Maten, a National Player of the Year candidate (including the Wooden Award Watch List) and preseason SEC Player of the Year honoree, leads Georgia. The senior from Pontiac, Mich., has posted double-doubles in each game to date and is averaging 20.7 points and 13.0 rebounds per game.
• Maten was tabbed the preseason SEC Player of the Year by the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook and a panel of SEC and national media. The media poll named Maten, Texas A&M's Robert Williams and Missouri's Michael Porter, Jr. as co-players of the year.
• Freshman Rayshaun Hammonds provides the Bulldogs with a second double-digit scoring average at 15.0 ppg. Hammonds has done so in an efficient fashion, connecting on 77.0 percent of his shots from the floor.
GET IT AND GO
Junior guard Austen Awosika is second on the team in rebounding at 6.0 per game and has led the team in that category the last two games. He tied a career high against Bethesda as he hauled in nine. Head coach Dedrique Taylor is all in favor or his guards rebounding as it helps the team get into it's transition offense quickly.
MOVE THE BALL
Taylor has emphasized ball movement to the team and it is still a work-in-progress as the team is seventh in assists per game in the conference at 11.0. Kyle Allman, Jr. leads the team in assists at 3.0 a game. He dished out six dimes against Bethesda, tying a career high.
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.
The Titans opened the season at two nationally-ranked opponents. The Titans fell to then-No. 10/11 USC and at 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. Per KenPom, Cal State Fullerton has the toughest strength of schedule in the nation thus far.
ON THE ROAD
The Titans will look to snap a streak of eight straight losses on the road to non-conference opponents at Portland on Dec. 6.
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.
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.
SUPPORT THE TITANS!
Fans can purchase tickets for various Cal State Fullerton athletic events by visiting FullertonTitans.com/Tickets. The Athletic Ticket Office can also be contacted by phone at 657-278-2783 or by email at email@example.com. The Ticket Office is located at the Titan House off of Gymnasium Drive at the eastern end of the Intramural Fields and is open from 10 am – 4 pm PT, Monday – Friday.
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