CSUF men’s basketball defeated Cal Lutheran University 99-60 behind 29 points from guard Khalil Ahmad at homecoming on Saturday night.
In 19 minutes, Ahmad missed one of his 13 field goals, sunk all three of his 3-pointers and went 2-2 from the free-throw line. Guard Kyle Allman finished with 18 points and four rebounds.
“Scoring is a little easier for us than it has been in the past,” head coach Dedrique Taylor said. “If we can show some toughness and unselfish play, I think we can be a pretty good ball club.”
Despite earning his third-highest scoring game of the season, Ahmad matched his 3-point attempt season low of three. He said that shooting wasn’t his focus heading into the game.
“(I was) just trying to attack the rim, get some easy stuff early and keep it going,” Ahmad said.
Before Saturday, the Titans had not played a home game since Nov. 10. They came home to a crowd of 2,048 against the Kingsmen, according to the Fullerton Athletics page.
That is the largest non-tournament home crowd Fullerton has played in front of since 3,978 fans watched CSUF play Hawaii on Feb. 2, 2013.
“It was good to be able to see all those people there to root us on,” Taylor said. “The Titans were in the gym, so it was good for the women to start it off with a really good basketball win and for us to come in and clean it up.”
Forward Jackson Rowe made his fourth consecutive start after missing the season opener due to injury and coming off the bench in his first three games of the season. The junior finished with 7 points, six rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a block.
With a few starts now under his belt, Rowe said he understands his role but is trying to get in a “better groove playing with the team.”
Rowe has recorded at least a steal and a block in every game, except against the University of Central Florida. Through seven games, he has nine steals and 10 blocks.
“I’ve always prided myself on defense. This year, I’m trying to take it to another level,” Rowe said.
Cal Lutheran is located in Thousand Oaks, a city that has been affected by the Woolsey Fire and the shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill. Prior to tipoff, a moment of silence was taken for the victims of both events.
CSUF also took donations during both homecoming games on behalf of the victims of the fire.
“The real world still exists,” Taylor said. “What’s going on, not only in our state but around the world, is something that basketball can teach. A different level of togetherness and unselfishness, and that’s what the world needs, in my opinion. The more that we can do that, the better our world can be.”
Fullerton will take on Loyola Marymount at home on Wednesday before embarking on another road trip. The Titans know how to prepare for a rematch after they defeated the Lions last season, Ahmad said.
“It’s going to be a real grind-it-out game. I think they run zone, so we’re going to have to move the ball around and get a couple assists so that we don’t have to take tough shots,” Ahmad said.
Wednesday’s game tips at 7 p.m. in the Titan Gym.