FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton men's basketball will face the Cal State Northridge Matadors for the first time this season on Saturday at 6 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
FROM THE TIP
• The Titans are riding a two-game winning streak and are 7-4 in Big West Conference play. After completing season sweeps of both Cal Poly and UC Davis, the Titans will face off against Cal State Northridge for the first time this season on Saturday.
• Junior guard Kyle Allman, Jr., the Jan. 8 and Jan. 29 Big West Player of the Week, is second in the league in scoring at 18.7 points per game overall and in just BWC play, he is second as well at 21.1 ppg. Allman is shooting 48.9 percent from the field, the No. 2 mark in the league. He's second on the team in assists at 2.3 per game (53 total) and is first on the team in steals with 29 (1.3 per game). Allman has scored 20+ points 10 times this season, including four of the last five games, and 30+ points on four occasions. The Brooklyn native has scored in double figures in 20 of 23 games this year.
• Junior guard Khalil Ahmad, the Big West Player of the Week on Dec. 11 and Feb. 12, is second on the squad and seventh in the Big West in scoring at 15.5 points per game. He's made the most three-point field goals on the squad at 43 (33.9%). He has made four or more three-point field goals in seven games this season. Ahmad is shooting 84.3% percent from the free-throw line this year, which is the No. 4 mark in the BWC.
• Ahmad became the 24th Titan in program history to score 1,000 points in a career last weekend after scoring 31 at UC Davis. Allman has his sights set on becoming the 25th as he is just 90 points away from 1K.
• Sophomore forward Jackson Rowe is third in the conference in field goal percentage at 58.2 (92-158). Rowe is one of three Titans to average double figures in scoring at 11.7 per game. He leads the team and is sixth in the league in rebounding, hauling in 6.7 per contest and is also shooting 50.0 percent (20-42) from beyond the arc.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 17 VS CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE || 6 PM PT
Series Record: 41-35
Home Record: 21-14
Away Record: 18-15
Neutral Record: 4-5
Current Streak: Won two
First Meeting: 12/13/60 at CSUN, W, 68-64
Last Meeting: 3/9/18 in Anaheim vs. CSUN, W, 81-68
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE NOTES
• The Matadors are 6-20 under head coach Reggie Theus and 3-9 in conference play. The team is just 2-11 in road games this season.
• Three Matadors average double figures, led by Tavrion Dawson who scores 16.4 points and grabs 6.5 rebounds per game. Micheal Warren is second on the team in scoring at 12.5 points per game and Terrell Gomez is third with 11.5 points and is first on the team in assists at 3.5.
• CSUN has one of the slowest paces of play in the country, averaging just 65.4 possessions per 40 minutes which is ranked No. 312 in the nation.
SET THE TABLE
For CSF, Sophomore guard Austen Awosika is fourth on the team in scoring (8.0 ppg), third on the team in rebounding (4.0 rpg) and leads the squad in assists at 2.9. He has hauled in at least three rebounds in 18 of 21 games this season. He has assisted on a team-high 20.8% of his teammates field goals while he's on the court. Awosika also leads the team in +/- rating at a nice cumulative total of +62 for the season. Essentially, when Awosika has been on the court this season, CSF outscores its opponent by 62 points.
MOVE THE BALL
Head coach Dedrique 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 12.4. At this point in the season, the Titans average 14.0 assists in their wins and only 9.9 in their losses. The Titans dished out a season-high 20 assists on Dec. 22 in their win at Loyola Marymount.
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 16 of 20 games, including six games greater than 83%. The squad is 9-2 when it makes more free throws than the opponent and 9-5 when it has more attempts. In 16 of 23 games, CSF had 20 or more attempts at the line. CSF is third in the league in both free throws attempts (554) and free throws made (400) on the year.
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 14.8 turnovers per game and are still looking to cut that number down.
UPDATING THE RECORD BOOKS
Allman had his name 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. 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.
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 and after 23 games, the team averages 69.8 possessions per 40 minutes (KenPom) which is ranked No. 100 in the country.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
After scoring a career-high 40 points on Saturday night, junior guard Kyle Allman, Jr. was recognized as the Big West Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season and the third time in his career. He averaged 32.0 points per game in a 1-1 split at home against UC Santa Barbara and at Hawai'i. He scored a career-high 40 points, one point off the Stan Sheriff Center single-game points record. Allman dished out a team-high four assists, meaning he had a role in 49 of the team's 69 points in a 69-66 victory.
Allman also earned Big West Player of the Week honors on Jan. 8 after averaging 23.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in a pair of Titan victories. Over the two wins against UC Riverside (68-65, Jan. 3) and Cal Poly (101-97, Jan. 6), the guard shot 55.2 percent (16 of 29) from the field and connected at 72.2 percent (13 of 18) from the charity stripe.
Khalil Ahmad was named Big West Player of the Week on Dec. 11 for his play over the week of Dec. 4-10. Ahmad earned his first career Big West Men's Basketball Player of the Week award after helping Cal State Fullerton win its fourth and fifth straight games. The 6-4 guard averaged 29.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game as the Titans defeated Portland (76-66) on the road and Utah Valley (91-83) at home. He shot 58.8 percent (10-for-17) from distance for the week.
Ahmad also earned the honor on Feb. 12 after averaging 26.5 points on 70.4% shooting in a pair of Titan victories last weekend. Ahmad shot a remarkable 70.4% (19-of-27) from the floor overall, including five made three-pointers (in 10 attempts) while sinking all but one of his 11 free throw tries.
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