FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton men's basketball hits the road to play at Portland on Wednesday at 7 p.m. PT and then return to Titan Gym on Saturday for a matchup against Utah Valley at 6 p.m. PT.
FROM THE TIP
• The Titans take their three-game winning streak on the road into Wednesday's game against the Portland Pilots. The Titans hit the road for six of its next eight games, starting on Wednesday at Portland. CSF returns home on Saturday for the first of two matchups this season against the Utah Valley Wolverines.
• The Titans have one of the best defenses in the Big West Conference, such as opponent field goal percentage (38.7%, No. 39 mark in the nation, No. 1 in BWC), opponent three-point field goal percentage (29.1%, No. 40 in the country, No. 3 in BWC) and points allowed per game (63.0, No. 37 in the nation, No. 2 in BWC) Also, the Titans commit the fewest fouls per game in the league at 16.4, which is also the No. 43 mark in the country.
• Sophomore forward Jackson Rowe leads the conference and is 10th in the nation in field goal percentage at 68.1 (32-47). Rowe is one of three Titans to average double figures in scoring at 13.7 per game. He leads the team in rebounding at 5.5 per game and is fourth in the league at 1.33 blocks per game.
• Junior guard Kyle Allman, Jr. is tops on the team in scoring at 16.0 on 46.7 percent shooting from the field. He's second on the team in assists at 2.3 per game (13 total) and tied for the team lead in steals with seven.
• Junior guard Khalil Ahmad is third on the squad in scoring at 10.1 points per game.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6 vs. PORTLAND || 7 PM PT
Series Record: 8-7
Home Record: 5-2
Away Record: 2-2
Neutral Record: 1-3
Current Streak: Won One
First Meeting: 12/29/78 vs. Portland, L, 85-105 (neutral site in Billings, Mont.)
Last Meeting: 12/22/16 vs. Portland, W, 77-72 (OT)
• The Pilots are 3-5 this season and led by Josh McSwiggan who scores 13.9 points per game. Franklin Porter (13.0 ppg) and Marcus Shaver JR (10.3 ppg) are the other two Pilots to average double figures in scoring.
• Portland is 0-5 on the year against DI opponents but they have the No. 12 ranked strength of schedule in the country per KenPom.
• The team is 16th in the nation and first in the West Coast Conference in three-point field goals per game at 11.1 per game. The Pilots are ninth in the nation and first in the league in three-point field goal percentage at 43.6.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9 vs. UTAH VALLEY || 6 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
UTAH VALLEY NOTES
• The Wolverines are 5-3 this season but two of those losses came at Kentucky and at Duke. All five starters average double figures in scoring but they are led by Akolda Manyang who scores 14.6 points a night and shoots 61.8% from the field.
• Utah Valley is 37th in the nation and second in the WAC in rebounding margin at +7.9. They average 13.0 offensive rebounds per game, a top-50 mark in the country.
• Manyang blocks 2.63 shots per game, the No. 22 mark in the NCAA.
SET THE TABLE
Sophomore guard Austen Awosika is second on the team in rebounding at 5.3 per game and leads the squad in assists at 3.0. He has hauled in five rebounds in three straight games and five of the last six. He has assisted on 25.5% of his teammates field goals while he's on the court, the highest mark on the team. Of the players who have played over 50 minutes this season, Awosika leads the team in +/- rating at +15.
MOVE THE BALL
Taylor has emphasized ball movement to the team and it is still a work-in-progress as the team is sixth in assists per game in the conference at 12.3. It is still a small sample size, but through seven games, the Titans average 16.0 assists in their four wins and only 7.3 in each of their losses.
CSF entered The Wooden Legacy ranked 351st in the nation in free-throw percentage at 49%. Since then, the team has shot better than 70% in each of their four games, including two games greater than 84%. In a small sample size, the Titans have shot 75.9% in their three wins and 57.9 in their three losses on the year.
UPDATING THE RECORD BOOKS
Jackson Rowe and Kyle Allman, Jr. both had their names etched into the Cal State Fullerton record book after The Wooden Legacy over Thanksgiving weekend. Allman poured in a career-high 34 points against Georgia (Nov. 23), one of the best scoring performances in program history. 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.
Taylor has a whiteboard at practice that faces the court and a student manager tracks turnovers and deflections for each individual. It is a point of emphasis for him and the team as he mentions it after every game. The Titans average 14.7 turnovers per game and are still looking to cut that number down.
PICK YOUR SPOTS
The Titans have tried to pick their spots better in transition and slow the game down in order to get better shots and try to cut down on the turnovers. Taylor is still looking for the team to push the ball when they can but after seven games, the team averages 68.5 possessions per 40 minutes (KenPom) which is 256th in the country.
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