Following two losses against nationally ranked opponents, Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball secured its first victory against Bethesda University 77-35 in the Titans’ home opener.
“We’re happy we got our first win,” said junior guard Khalil Ahmad.
The game started slow for the Titans. With a little under eight minutes remaining in the first half, the Titans had only converted five of their 22 attempts from the field. They also missed four of their first six free throws.
“Shots weren’t falling,” said Titans Head Coach Dedrique Taylor. “That took us out of rhythm and it took us some time to get into our flow.”
Ahmad acknowledged that free throws have been a struggle for the team this season, saying that the Titans’ two main focuses for their next game should be “less turnovers” and “shooting better from the free throw line.”
As a team, the Titans have shot 49.2 percent from the line in their first three games.
After two five-man substitutions towards the end of the half, CSUF caught fire. A dunk from forward Arkim Robertson started the run, leading to a 3-pointer from guard Kyle Allman Jr. and three consecutive triples from Ahmad.
“I was wide open, so why not shoot it?” Ahmad said. “It would’ve messed up the flow if I tried doing something else.”
The Titans defense appeared to hold strong the entire game, coming away with 9 steals and forcing 17 total turnovers, but Taylor wasn’t satisfied.
“I thought (our defense) was sporadic,” Taylor said. “I thought we played much better against Saint Mary’s than we did today.”
CSUF continued to roll in the second half, outscoring Bethesda 44-21 over the final 20 minutes.
Despite coming out with a big first victory, the Titans will not change how they practice heading into their next game when they host the 2017 Wooden Legacy starting Thursday Nov. 2, taking on the Georgia Bulldogs.
“We’re just trying to get better with the things we’ve been working on,” Taylor said.