FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton men's basketball puts its three-game winning streak to the test on Wednesday night at UC Riverside. The game at the SRC Arena will tip off at 7 p.m. PT and be broadcast on ESPN3. The Titans then host their rival Long Beach State on Saturday at 7 p.m. on national television with an ESPN2 broadcast.
FROM THE TIP
• The Titans are riding a three-game winning streak and are 8-4 in Big West Conference play, good for fourth place in the standings. After dismantling Cal State Northridge on Saturday night, the Titans will look to sweep the season series against UCR and then try avoid the sweep against LBSU.
• 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 19.1 points per game overall and in just BWC play, he is second as well at 21.6 ppg. Allman is shooting 49.3 percent from the field, the No. 2 mark in the league. He's second on the team in assists at 2.3 per game (55 total) and is first on the team in steals with 30 (1.3 per game). Allman has scored 20+ points 11 times this season, including five of the last six games, and 30+ points on four occasions. The Brooklyn native has scored in double figures in 21 of 24 games this year. Allman has made eight or more free-throw attempts eight times 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 sixth in the Big West in scoring at 16.1 points per game. He's made the most three-point field goals on the squad at 48 (35.6%). He has made four or more three-point field goals in eight games this season. Ahmad is shooting 84.1% percent from the free-throw line this year, which is the No. 3 mark in the BWC. For the last three games, Ahmad is shooting 69% (29-42) from the field.
• 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 sits at 937 points.
• Sophomore forward Jackson Rowe is third in the conference in field goal percentage at 57.6 (98-170). Rowe is one of three Titans to average double figures in scoring at 11.9 per game. He leads the team and is sixth in the league in rebounding, hauling in 6.8 per contest. Over the last four games, he's hauled in 38 total rebounds and 9.5 per game. Rowe is also shooting 46.5 percent (20-43) from beyond the arc.
BUS TO UC RIVERSIDE
Cal State Fullerton head men's basketball coach Dedrique Taylor has agreed to sponsor a fan bus to escort Titan supporters to and from Cal State Fullerton's road game at UC Riverside on Wednesday, February 21st. The bus trip is FREE and open to ALL Titan fans.
The rooter bus will depart from Brian's Beer and Billiards (1944 N. Placentia Ave, Fullerton CA 92831) at approximately 5 pm PT and will return back to Brian's directly after the basketball game.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21 VS UC RIVERSIDE || 7 PM PT
Series Record: 30-21
Home Record: 17-10
Away Record: 11-11
Neutral Record: 2-0
Current Streak: Won two
First Meeting: 1/12/61 at UC Riverside, W, 110-60
Last Meeting: 1/3/18 vs. UC Riverside, W, 68-65
UC RIVERSIDE NOTES
• The Highlanders are 7-19 on the year 2-10 in Big West play. UCR just won at CSUN but fell in overtime at home to Hawai'i last time out.
• In the Big West, UCR has the second-best field goal percentage defense at 33.2 percent and the No. 2 ranked three-point field goal defense at 40.9.
• Dikymbe Martin is tops on the team is scoring at 13.5 ppg and that is tied for the 11th-best mark in the league.
• Chance Murray and Martin are second and fifth in the conference in steals per game at 1.7 and 1.4, respectively.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24 VS. LONG BEACH STATE || 7 PM PT
Series Record: 45-71
Home Record: 30-21
Away Record: 14-40
Neutral Record: 1-10
Current Streak: Lost one
First Meeting: 12/10/60 at LBSU, W, 73-68
Last Meeting: 1/20/18 at LBSU, L, 81-73
LONG BEACH STATE NOTES
• The 49ers are 13-15 overall, 7-5 in league play and just behind CSF in the league standings. The team is led by Gabe Levin who scores 18.4 points per game and has shot 200 free throws (1st in BWC, 14th in nation) and connected on 161 (1st in BWC, 15th in nation) of them for a percentage of 80.5.
• Bryan Alberts is the only other 49er to average double figures in scoring at 11.6 ppg. Deishaun Booker is third on the squad in scoring at 9.9 ppg and is first in the league in assists per game at 4.9.
• Long Beach State is first in the conference and 18th in the nation in free throw attempts (661) and free throws made (482) for a percentage of 72.9.
• The 49ers push the tempo as they average 72.5 possessions per 40 minutes, the No. 25 mark in the nation.
SET THE TABLE
For CSF, sophomore guard Austen Awosika is fourth on the team in scoring (7.8 ppg), third on the team in rebounding (3.9 rpg) and leads the squad in assists at 2.9. He has hauled in at least three rebounds in 19 of 24 games this season. He has assisted on a team-high 20.4% of his teammates field goals while he's on the court. Awosika also leads the team in +/- rating at a nice cumulative total of +70 for the season. Essentially, when Awosika has been on the court this season, CSF outscores its opponent by 70 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 fourth in assists per game in the conference at 12.8. At this point in the season, the Titans average 14.5 assists in their wins and only 9.9 in their losses. The Titans dished out a season-high 21 assists on Feb. 17 against Cal State Northridge.
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 all but four games, including six games greater than 83%. The squad is 10-2 when it makes more free throws than the opponent and 10-5 when it has more attempts. In 17 of 24 games, CSF had 20 or more attempts at the line. CSF is third in the league in both free throws attempts (580) and free throws made (421) 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 14.5 turnovers per game and are still looking to cut that number down. On Feb. 17 against Cal State Northridge, the Titans had a season-low eight turnovers.
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 24 games, the team averages 70.1 possessions per 40 minutes (KenPom) which is ranked No. 91 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
FOLLOW THE TITANS!
Fans can keep up with the latest in Titan Athletics by following us on Facebook (Facebook/FullertonTitans), Twitter (@FullertonTitans) Instagram (@FullertonTitans) and Snapchat (FullertonTitans). In addition, the basketball team has established its own Twitter (@FullertonHoops) and Instagram accounts (@FullertonHoops).