Final Pre-Conference Tuneup Takes Matadors to Washington to Face the Huskies
Northridge Matadors (3-6, 0-0 Big West) at Washington Huskies (5-5, 0-0 Pac-12)
Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 - 7:00 p.m. PST
Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000) - Seattle, Wash.
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Alan Zinsmeister - PBP)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
Cal State Northridge (3-6, 0-0 Big West) takes a season-high two-game winning streak into its final non-conference game of 2011 as the Matadors travel to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies (5-5) on Thursday, Dec. 22 ... Game time is 7:00 p.m. ... Northridge opened up the offense for the second time in three home games this season last Saturday as the Matadors put six players in double figures in a 99-58 rout of the Pacifica College Gladiators ... CSUN also looks for its second straight road win Thursday.
Cal State Northridge is the youngest team among more than 340 NCAA Division I schools in the country ... Of the 18 players on this year's roster, there are only 12 years of collegiate basketball experience, an average of 0.67 years ... UC Irvine is second at 0.69 years ... Navy is third nationally at 0.70 years ... These statistics factor in the team's total years of previous collegiate experience with the number of players on the roster ... The 18-man Matador roster has only three seniors and NO juniors ... The rest of the team is composed of underclassmen (six sophomores, seven freshmen, two redshirt freshmen).
Stephan Hicks (6-5, 190, RS Freshman, Guard/Forward, Thousand Oaks, Ca) has only played in nine games in his collegiate career and has already emerged as one of the top players in the Big West Conference ... Hicks is third in the conference in scoring (17.6 ppg) and is the team's top rebounder (8.7 rpg, #2 in the BWC) ... Hicks started his collegiate career with 19 points and eight rebounds at USC (11/11/11) ... Hicks then followed up with his first collegiate double-double (points-rebounds) with 22 points and 17 rebounds at Hawai'i (11/14/11) ... The 17 rebounds were only seven short of the school record set by George Robnett against UC Irvine during the 1970-71 season ... Hicks continued to showcase his scoring talents with a career-high 23 points against Boise State (11/19/11) ... Against Pacifica College (12/17/11), Hicks scored 18 points along with 10 rebounds ... Hicks has scored in double-digits in all nine games this year ... Hicks ranks second in the conference in free throw shooting (.891, 41-for-46) ... Hicks hit his first 14 free throws before missing a free throw at Boise State (11/19/11) ... Vinnie McGhee (5-10, 170, Senior, Guard, Oakland, Ca) has scored in double-figures in five of the nine games of the 2011-12 season ... McGhee started the season with a season-high 14 points at USC (11/11/11) followed by eleven points at Hawai'i (11/14/11), 13 points at Boise State (11/19/11) and another 13 points against San Diego Christian (11/22/11) ... McGhee ranks second on the team with 19 assists (2.7 apg) ... Josh Greene (6-0, 180, Sophomore, Guard, Los Angeles, Ca) ranks at the the top of the Big West Conference in free throw percentage in the Big West Conference ... Greene has connected on 19-of-21 free throws for .905.
Cal State Northridge continues to lead all Big West Conference schools in free throw percentage ... The Matadors are hitting .772 (152-for-197) from the charity stripe ... Four Matador players (Josh Greene, Allan Guei, Stephan Hicks, Vinnie McGhee) have combined to hit 91-of-107 free throws for .850 ... The Matadors also are the conference leaders in turnover margin (+3.56) and offensive rebounds per game (15.00) and currently rank second in the Big West Conference averaging 7.0 steals per game.
Cal State Northridge has three freshmen who are generating sizable contributions to the team this year ... Redshirt freshman Stephan Hicks (6-5, 190, RS Freshman, Guard/Forward, Thousand Oaks, Ca) ranks third in the conference in scoring (17.6 ppg) and is second in rebounding at 8.7 rpg ... Allan Guei (5-9, 160, Freshman, Guard, Compton, Ca) has started four of the first eight games this year ... Guei has scored in double-digits in two games including a season-high 14 points at USC (11/11/11) in the season opener ... Guei is shooting .867 from the free throw line, seventh-best in the conference ... Stephen Maxwell (6-5, 215, Freshman, Woodland Hills, Ca) made his collegiate debut against Cal State Bakersfield (11/30/11) and responded with game-highs in points (20) and rebounds (11) ... Hicks is averaging a team-high 28.7 minutes per game while Guei is averaging 17.3 minutes per game and Maxwell are averaging 15.0 minutes per game.
Last year, Cal State Northridge men's basketball was pegged to finish eighth in the annual Big West Conference pre-season media poll ... The Matadors proved the experts wrong, finishing alone in third place (9-7) and eventually landing a spot in the semi-finals of the Big West Tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim ... This year (2011-12), the pre-season results are the same ... Cal State Northridge is predicted to finish eighth in this year's conference ... CSUN tallied 61 points to finish just behind UC Davis (63 points) in seventh place, and six points ahead of ninth place UC Irvine (55 points) ... Long Beach State was selected the favorite to claim the 2011-12 Big West men's basketball title ... The 49ers collected 20 first-place votes from the 24-member voting panel for a total of 212 points ... LBS welcomes back four starters from the 2010-11 squad that finished 22-12 overall and won the Big West regular season title by four games with a 12-4 record ... UC Santa Barbara has presented the biggest roadblock to Long Beach State in its quest to reach the NCAA Tournament ... The Gauchos have knocked off the 49ers in the Big West Tournament championship game the last two seasons, earning the conference's automatic bid to the Big Dance ... UCSB was picked to finish second in this year's media poll, receiving the four remaining first-place votes and 196 points ... Cal Poly was picked third in the poll with 158 points ... Cal State Fullerton finished fourth in the media poll with 131 points, followed by UC Riverside in fifth place with 114 points, Pacific with 91 points in sixth place, UC Davis with 62 points in seventh place, Cal State Northridge in eighth place with 61 points, and UC Irvine with 55 points to finish in ninth place.
Thursday's game marks just the fifth meeting all-time between Cal State Northridge and Washington ... The Huskies have won all four previous games including an 88-76 in the last meeting, Dec. 6, 2009 ... All four games in the series, which dates back to 1992, have been played in Seattle ... Washington also won 80-66 (12/22/07), 89-80 (12/28/02) and 61-57 (2/10/92).
Thursday's game is also the final non-conference tilt for the Huskies who will open Pac-12 Conference play Dec. 29 against Oregon State ... Washington dropped its first home game of the season on Monday, 92-73 to South Dakota State ... Previously, the Huskies posted convincing home wins over UC Santa Barbara amongst others in addition to a six-point loss at Duke on Dec. 10 ... Freshman guard Tony Wroten's 16.4 ppg scoring average leads three players averaging double figures. Terence Ross (15.4) and C.J. Wilcox (15.1) also average double figures for Lorenzo Romar's squad which is shooting a robust 46.6% from the field as a team while scoring 80.3 points per game.
Cal State Northridge has signed two players to national letters of intent during the early signing period in November ... Brandon Perry (6-6, 260, Forward) played a pivotal role in helping Taft High School to the Los Angeles City championship last year ... Taft chalked up a 29-3 record and a perfect 10-0 mark in the West Valley League ... Perry's top games included 17 points (7-for-9 from the floor) over El Camino Real High School ... Several publications have rated Perry as one of the top 150 players in the country ... Donovan Johnson (6-3, 180, Guard) hails from Palisades High School ... In 2010-11, Johnson averaged 16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, three assists and three steals per game to gain Los Angeles All-City honors along with being the MVP of the highly competitive Western League ... Johnson scored in double figures in 28 of the team's 32 games last season ... That included a season-high 30 points (11-for-14 from the floor) against Westchester High School.
Challenging is always the trademark of the CSUN basketball schedule, and this year is no exception ... The non-league schedule includes games at Pac-12 schools USC (season opener on Nov. 11, 2011) and at Washington (12/22/11) ... Both the Trojans and Huskies competed in the NCAA Tournament last year ... The CSUN game at USC was the second straight season the Matadors have faced a Pac-12 school in the season opener ... Last year (2010-11), Cal State Northridge opened the regular season at UCLA ... The Matadors will have eleven non-league games in addition to its 16-game Big West Conference schedule ... The conference schedule will open on Dec. 29 against UC Irvine at The Matadome.
During the past four seasons, CSUN basketball has been featured prominently on television (29 times to be exact), including games on CBS, Fox Sports Net and ESPNU ... During CSUN's march to the NCAA Tournament in 2008-09, Matador games were televised a school record nine times ... Matador basketball fans will have the opportunity to see Cal State Northridge three times on television during the 2011-12 men's basketball season ... On November 15, the Matadors were featured nationally on ESPN against the University of Hawai'i in Honolulu ... Then on January 21, 2012 when the Matadors travel to Cal Poly, the Big West game will be televised on Fox Sports Net (Prime Ticket) at 5:30 p.m. ... On February 25, the Matadors conference game at UC Irvine will be televised on Fox Sports Net (Prime Ticket). Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ... Depending on the team's success in 2011-12, CSUN could be featured another two times on television ... That would include a "Wild Card" selected game on Saturday, February 4, when the Matadors travel to Big West Conference favorite Long Beach State at 7:30 p.m. ... The game could be televised either on ESPNU or Fox Sports West ... Other games also under consideration on February 4 are UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Fullerton, UC Davis at UC Riverside, or Pacific at UC Irvine ... Another possible telecast would be on Saturday, February 18, when Cal State Northridge participates in the tenth annual ESPN sponsored SEARS BracketBusters event ... Thirteen nationally televised contests will be selected from a pool of 142 teams from 16 conferences and will be shown on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3 ... The SEARS BracketBusters matchups, game times and network assignments will be announced on Monday, January 30.
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