FULLERTON, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton men's basketball is set to play two road games this week as Big West Conference action continues. The Titans play at UC Irvine on Wednesday at 7 p.m. PT on ESPN3 and then on Saturday at 5 p.m. PT at UC Riverside.
FROM THE TIP
• Heading into Wednesday's matchup, both the TItans and the UC Irvine Anteaters are riding five-game winning streaks. Following that, the Titans head to UC Riverside to try and complete the season sweep of the HIghlanders.
• Senior guard Kyle Allman, Jr., the Big West Player of the Week on Jan. 21, is tops on the team and third in the league in points per game at 18.5. He's second on the squad in assists and tied a career-high against Wake Forest (Nov. 16) with eight helpers. Of his 40 assists on the year, 15 of them have been to Jackson Rowe. The Brooklyn native has scored has scored 10+ in 39 of his last 41 games. Allman has scored 30+ seven times over the course of this season and last season. He has scored 20+ in four of the last five games.
• Senior guard Khalil Ahmad, the Nov. 19 Big West Player of the Week, is second on the team and fourth in the Big West in scoring at 18.2 points per game. He had a strong showing at the Myrtle Beach Invitational as he earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Over the three-game tournament he averaged 25.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals, including a 40-point outburst against Monmouth. He's also second in the league in steals per game at 1.70. For the year he's scored 20+ eight times and he's scored 10+ in nine of the last 10.
• Ahmad became the 24th Titan in program history to score 1,000 points in a career after scoring 31 at UC Davis (Feb. 10, 2018). He has totaled 1,531 points in his career, the fifth-best mark in the program. Allman joined him in the 1K Club on Feb. 28 when he scored 23 points at CSUN (Feb. 16, 2018). He sits 1,471 points for his career, No. 8 all-time.
• Junior forward Jackson Rowe, the two-time Big West Player of the Week this season (Jan. 7, 28), has been doing a bit of everything on the floor this year for the Titans. He is averaging 10.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 0.89 blocks and 0.63 steals per game. He leads the team in both rebounds and blocks. He's shooting an impressive 57.8% (89-154) from the field this year, the top mark in the league. The Canada native has posted four double-doubles on the year including two in the last three games.
THE 3 POINT CONFERENCE PICK 'EM PLAN FOR $33
Reserved Seats for 3 conference games of your choice, which can include premium games vs. UC Irvine on January 12th and Long Beach State on February 13th, and what's even better is you get to pick YOUR seats!!! You are pretty much getting 3 games for the price of 2! Purchase your seats by clicking HERE or by calling the Titan Athletics Ticket Office at 657-278-2783. Offer expires on February 20th.
Tickets for all Titans home games can be purchased online at FullertonTitans.com, or at the Cal State Fullerton Athletics Ticket Office, located in the Titan House on campus off of Gymnasium Drive on the northeast side of Titan Gym. Game day sales and will call tickets will open one hour prior to the scheduled time at the specific venue. All Cal State Fullerton students with a school ID get free admission.
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LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN...AND EIGHT
Each of the three times the Titans have qualified for the NCAA Tournament it has been in seasons that end in 7-8. CSF went to the "Elite Eight" in 1977-78, played in the first round in 2007-08 as well as 2017-18. In both 2007-08 and 2017-18, CSF played UC Irvine in the Big West Tournament final and earned victories on both occasions.
2018 BIG WEST TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS
The Titans won the league tournament for the third time in program history. In the quarterfinal round, the No. 4 seeded CSF defeated Long Beach State by a score of 76-74 with the Titans getting a defensive stop on the final possession to secure the win. In the semifinal matchup against No. 1 seed UC Davis, the Titans came back from a 13-point deficit in the second half to beat the Aggies 55-52. After two nail biters, CSF cruised to a 71-55 victory over UC Irvine in the final, leading for over 36 minutes of the game and played what head coach Dedrique Taylor called, the team's best game of the year. The trio of Allman, Ahmad and Rowe combined to score 145 of the 202 points CSF scored in those three games.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6 AT UC IRVINE || 7 PM PT
Series Record: 55-54
Home Record: 24-26
Away Record: 24-26
Neutral Record: 7-2
Current Streak: L1
First Meeting: 01/15/66 at UCI, L, 68-74
Last Meeting: 01/12/19 vs. UCI, L, 63-46
UCI improved to 19-5 on the season and 7-1 in the Big West after a buzzer-beat victory against Long Beach State last weekend. It marked their fifth straight win as they sit atop the league standings.
The Anteaters are 8-2 at home this year and 8-2 in their last 10 games as well.
Eight different Anteaters have led the team in scoring over UCI's 22 games.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9 AT UC RIVERSIDE || 5 PM PT
Series Record: 31-22
Home Record: 18-10
Away Record: 11-12
Neutral Record: 2-0
Current Streak: W1
First Meeting: 01/12/61 at UCR, W, 110-60
Last Meeting: 01/17/19 vs. UCR, W, 69-61
The Highlanders are on a three-game skid at the moment as they sit at 8-16 overall and 2-6 in the conference. UCR does have a 6-5 home record, though, and are halfway through a four-game home swing.
Dikymbe Martin leads the team in scoring with 16.0 points per game and he also is tops in assists.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
For CSF, junior guard Austen Awosika is fourth on the team in scoring (8.8 points per game), first in assists (3.80 per game), second in blocks (13 total), second in steals (1.4 per game) and second in rebounding (5.3 per game). He led the team in the category last year and is tops on the team again this year in assist percentage (an estimate of the percentage of teammate field goals assisted while on the floor) at 22.8%. He has the fourth-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the league at 1.86. In conference play he's averaging 11.0 points per game (No. 4 on the team) on 53% shooting from the field and has scored 10+ in five of the last seven games.
Per KenPom, the Titans have the No. 12 ranked non-conference schedule in the country and the No. 94 overall strength of schedule. The squad played just four non-conference home games.
A NEW SEASON
The Titans have been a different team thus far in Big West Conference play. On this current five-game winning streak the squad has averaged shooting 51.3% from the field, shooting better than 50% in four of those five, while holding the opponents to a collective 42.3% shooting.
Fullerton has averaged 18.4 made free throws over the last five games while the opponents have made just 9.2 per game.
50 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
Dating back to last season, the Titans are undefeated when shooting 50% or better from the field. In a sense, that isn't all that surprising since teams usually win when they shoot the ball well. However, the Titans are 6-0 this year and were 14-0 last year when eclipsing the 50% mark, and that feels impressive.