The only thing that could slow down Cal State Fullerton senior guard Khalil Ahmad in the first half against Monmouth was the halftime buzzer. Ahmad scored 40 points, 29 in the first half, to lead Fullerton past the Hawks 87-63 in the seventh-place game of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.
Ahmad made 10-of-14 shots from the field in the first half, 6-of-8 from 3-point range, in staking the Titans to 52-22 halftime lead. His 40 points were only four shy of the record for an ESPN Events tournament, set by Santa Clara’s Jared Brownridge in the 2015 Wooden Legacy.
“The ball was feeling really good coming off my fingers and it kept going in,” said Ahmad, who sank a 3-pointer 44 seconds into the game to give the Titans (2-3) a lead they never relinquished. “So I was like, ‘OK, let’s try to keep this going as long as I can.’ ”
Ahmad closed the first half by scoring 10 points in the final 2:12, then came out and popped yet another 3-pointer less than a minute into the second half. He hit the 40-point mark midway through the second half before sitting out the final seven minutes of the game.
“He’s one of the wonders of the world,” Fullerton coach Dedrique Taylor said. “He’s just a happy-go-lucky guy, but he’s super talented. Tonight he got himself going behind the 3, and that opened up the lane and he was able to get in and finish.
“For him to be able to come out and perform that way was really impressive. Those are the types of things he’s capable of night in and night out. We just need to see if we can get him to that state each time we’re on the floor.”
Monmouth (0-6) leaves Myrtle Beach as the tournament’s only winless team, a fact that obviously frustrated head coach King Rice.
“Tough, tough weekend for us. Tough start to the season,” Rice said. “The kids are really fragile right now. We’re not believing in each other. We just need to work hard to try and get it turned around.”