Saturday, March 10, 2018

Cal State Fullerton: 2017-18 Big West Men's Basketball Champions

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Kyle Allman scored 26 points, and Khalil Ahmad added 23 to lead Cal State Fullerton to a 71-55 win over UC Irvine Saturday in the Big West Tournament championship.

Allman was in a groove all game and had a glorious, two-handed breakaway dunk with 4:29 left to put the exclamation mark on the game. He made his first four 3-point attempts. That gave the fourth-seeded Titans a 65-49 lead. When he was at the free-throw line at the end of the game, Titans fans chanted "MVP! MVP!"

Allman made 8 of 16 shots.

Cal State Fullerton won the Big West tournament for the first time since 2008, making the Ttians' upcoming NCAA Tournament appearance the first in a decade and first under coach Dedrique Taylor.

After going scoreless in the semifinals, UC Irvine's Evan Leonard scored 18 of his 20 points in the first half.

Both teams suffered from poor shooting in the first half. The Titans shot 25.9 percent from the field and the Anteaters 30.3 percent.


Lakers rookie guard Lonzo Ball sat courtside for the championship game. Ball played high school basketball with UC Irvine forward John Edgar Jr. and Fullerton guard Austen Awosika at Chino Hills (California) High.


Cal State Fullerton: The Titans made their mark this season by beating top seed UC Davis three times this year, including the Big West semifinals.

UC Irvine: As UC Santa Barbara coach Joe Pasternack said, the Anteaters are the "gold standard" of the conference. Even with a young team, the Anteaters advanced to the Big West Tournament final, so the future should be bight.


Cal State Fullerton: The Titans are battle-tested, winning close games in the quarterfinals and semifinals to get to the championship but controlled the tournament championship most of the game.

UC Irvine: The Anteaters are putting themselves in good position in the offseason. They played for the tournament championship for the second consecutive season but lost both. The Anteaters have also played for the tournament title for the fourth time in six years.
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