The Cal men’s basketball team’s (4-6) season has been an interesting one up to this point. Between a complete roster overhaul heading into the season, head coach Wyking Jones’ implementation of five different starting lineups and the team’s embarrassing loss to Chaminade countered by an upset over San Diego State, the first 10 games of the season have been, at minimum, eventful.
What the next batch of games has to offer remains dubious, but in the short term, Cal looks to inch just little closer to a .500 record on the season with a home match-up against Cal State Fullerton (6-3).
Leading the Titans on the offensive end of the ball is junior Kyle Allman, Jr. The guard only weighs in at 175 pounds to complement his 6’3” frame — lanky even by college basketball standards. What Allman lacks in strength, he makes up for in craftiness and explosiveness; raised in Brooklyn, a place where every young hooper is taught the ways of streetball and dribble moves, the guard knows how to bob and weave through opposing defenses and get off a quality looks at the basket.
Allman had a relatively slow start to the season, handcuffed by the likes of USC and Saint Mary’s in his first two games of the season, but he exploded for 34 points against Georgia and has touched double-digits scoring totals in every subsequent game. The junior has been very efficient during Cal State Fullerton’s current five-game winning streak, averaging 16.8 points per game on 61 percent shooting from the field and 71 percent on 2-pointers.
Accompanying Allman in the backcourt is fellow junior Khalil Ahmad. Now in his third go-around with the Titans, Ahmad has made the jump as a 3-point shooter, draining shots from beyond the arc at a clip of 40 percent, well greater than his previous high of only 33 percent. Ahmad has arguably outdueled Allman during the Titans’ winning streak, averaging 19.4 points during the stretch while knocking down 15 of the 30 3-pointers he’s attempted.
Both Allman and Ahmad have been very efficient lately, but sophomore Jackson Rowe has been the closest thing to automatic during the team’s recent stretch. Rowe isn’t one to chuck and is very picky with his shot selection, but when the shot goes up, there’s a very good chance it’s cash.
On the season, Rowe is averaging 12.9 points per game while hitting an already absurd 63 percent of his shots from the field and 12 of the 17 3-pointers he’s attempted. During this five-game stretch, however, the forward is putting up 14.2 points per game while knocking down his shots from the field at a clip of 65 percent, as well as 9 of 12 3-pointers.
Cal will look to counter with a sniper of its own in freshman Darius McNeill. Not only is the guard putting up impressive figures in his first season with the Bears — averaging 11.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game — but he’s splashing home 48 percent of 3-pointers while attempting 4.6 per game. McNeill has hit at least one 3-pointer in all 10 games this season and has hit the ninth-most 3-pointers among players in the Pac-12.