GAME #22 (Big West Game #11):
Northridge Matadors (6-15, 2-8 Big West) at UC Davis Aggies (1-21, 0-10 Big West)
Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 - 8 p.m. PST
The Pavilion (7,100) - Davis, Calif.
Televised Broadcast: Comcast SportsNet California
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Bill Courtland - PBP, Alan Zinsmeister - Analyst)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
WHAT'S NEXT FOR NORTHRIDGE - AT PACIFIC
Cal State Northridge will look to earn a split of its regular season games, and end its upcoming Northern California road trip Saturday night against the Pacific Tigers. In their previous meeting in Northridge, on Jan. 12, the Matadors were defeated 79-59 on a night that saw Pacific shoot a season-high 56.3 percent (27-for-48) from the field.
Last season, Northridge defeated Pacific on its home court for the first time in the program's history when the Matadors left the Spanos Center with a 58-54 triumph. If victorious in their final meeting of the 2011-12 season, CSUN will have taken two of its last three games played against Pacific.
The Tigers will face Long Beach State Thursday night before competing against Northridge, entering this week's action Pacific is tied for fourth with a 5-5 Big West record, and a 9-13 overall mark. After starting its Big West schedule with a 1-4 record, Pacific has gone 4-1 since, with a three-point loss at home against UC Santa Barbara serving as the only blemish on the Tigers' schedule during the last two weeks.
Tigers forwards Travis Fulton and Ross Rivera each recorded new career highs with 23 and 21 points scored against the Matadors in Northridge last January. Led by guard Lorenzo McCloud (10.9 ppg), Rivera (10.3 ppg) and Fulton (10.0 ppg) are the only Tigers averaging double-digits in scoring this season. Fulton and Khalil Kelley lead Pacific with their 5.9 and 5.0 rpg figures, and are collectively responsible for one-third (228-of-687) of Pacific's total number of rebounds. Fulton leads all Tigers with 123 rebounds, Kelley is second with 105.
All-Time Series Record Against Pacific: Northridge Trails 6-21
Home Record: 4-7
Away Record: 1-10
Neutral Record: 1-4
This Season's Result: at Northridge 59, Pacific 89 (1/14/12)
Last Year's Results: Pacific 74, at Northridge 64 (12/28/10) and Northridge 58, at Pacific 54 (3/5/11)
Last Northridge Road Win at Pacific: Northridge 58, Pacific 54 (3/5/11)
Series Streak: Pacific +1
ANYTHING BUT GREEN(E)
After a slow start in which he combined for 16 points through the first three games, Josh Greene's production has picked up drastically as he has reached double figures in points in 11 of his 20 appearances this season. In his last four games against Cal State Fullerton, at Cal State Bakersfield, against UC Santa Barbara, and at Long Beach State, Greene has averaged 17.8 points by finishing with 14, 16, 15, and a season-high 26 points respectively. Greene is ranked No. 2 on the team with 10.9 ppg, and is one of only two players who are averaging 10 or more points this season for CSUN.
In CSUN's last game against preseason favorite Long Beach State, Greene drew the defensive assignment of the reigning Big West Player of the Year Casper Ware, and held him to a season-low five points.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS ACCORDINGLY
In an effort to accommodate Comcast SportsNet California and its broadcast of CSUN's road game at UC Davis on Feb. 9, tipoff will now take place at 8:00 p.m. CSUN men's basketball fans interested in watching the final regular season meeting between the two are encouraged to check their satellite/cable listings, or visit www.bigwest.org/tv to watch a live stream on BigWest TV.
In front of a standing-room only crowd, 1,813 fans packed the Matadome to watch Northridge compete against UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, Feb. 2. That audience fell only 38 fans short of setting a new all-time, reduced capacity attendance record.
On Feb. 17, 2001, a crowd of 1,850 watched Cal State Northridge defeat Northern Arizona 78-72. Originally constructed with a capacity of 5,000 people at the start of the 1962-63 season, the Matadome's seating was reduced to its current 1,600 seat configuration in 1999 due to damage sustained in the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS
Currently shooting 75.5 percent from the free throw line this season, this year's Matador lineup is on pace to record the highest percentage in the program's history. The 1961-62 Matadors occupy first place all-time with its 73.6 percent mark (454-for-617) from the line.
NOTHING BUT NET
On Saturday, Jan. 28, at Cal State Bakersfield, the Matadors shot a season-high 61.0 percent by making made 25-of-41 shots against the Roadrunners. This is the highest field goal percentage recorded by Northridge since its appearance at the 2010 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif. In CSUN's 88-66 victory over DePaul, the Matadors made 34 of their 56 shots, and finished with a 60.7 field goal percentage.
NORTHRIDGE VS. THE NATION
The most successful Big West team at the free throw line this season, Northridge is ranked No. 22 in the nation with its 75.5 free throw percentage. Undefeated Weber St. leads all Division I teams with its 80.0 free throw percentage.
FOLLOW THE LEADER
In addition to leading all Big West freshman with four double-doubles, Stephan Hicks also leads all first-year players with four 20-point games, and five 10-rebound games.
MATADORS DRAW BULLDOGS IN SEARS BRACKETBUSTERS MATCHUP
Cal State Northridge will face Fresno State from the Western Athletic Conference in this year's Sears BracketBusters matchup. The Matadors will host the Bulldogs for the first time in over 38 years on Saturday, Feb. 18, tipoff will take place at 7:05 p.m. This will be the sixth BracketBusters appearance for the Matadors, who are 2-3 in previous matchups. Last season, CSUN earned a 68-59 victory at Eastern Washington.
Cal State Northridge and Fresno State have previously faced one another on 30 occasions, with the Bulldogs holding a 25-5 advantage. The last meeting between the teams took place on Dec. 7, 2005 in Fresno, Calif.
A record total of 142 teams, representing 16 collegiate athletic conferences, are competing in the 10th annual event. All nine Big West teams are participating in this year's event, other pairings include Long Beach State at No. 12 Creighton (Feb. 18, 7 p.m., ESPN2/ESPN3), Cal Poly at Northern Colorado, UC Davis at Northern Arizona, UC Santa Barbara at Utah State, Montana State at Cal State Fullerton, Eastern Washington at UC Irvine, Southern Utah at UC Riverside, and Idaho State at Pacific.
THEIR NAME IS ON THE LIST
In addition to earning a split of their season series against Cal State Bakersfield with their 76-68 win on Jan. 28, the Matadors handed the Roadrunners' men's basketball team the 17th loss in their program's history at the Icardo Center. Completed in 1989, Bakersfield possesses an all-time record of 172-17 at the Icardo Center as of Jan. 29, 2012. Including their most recent victory over the Roadrunners, the Matadors are responsible for two of those 17 losses suffered by CSUB in its on-campus facility.
NORTHRIDGE ADDS LATE-SEASON GAME AGAINST SAINT MARY'S
Cal State Northridge men's basketball has added a late-season game, and will now end its 2011-12 schedule on the road against Saint Mary's. The Matadors-Gaels 7 p.m. matchup will take place on Friday, March 9, at McKeon Pavilion, and marks the final appearance in a Northridge uniform for seniors Ari Feldman, John Hayward-Mayhew, Michael Lizarraga, and Vinnie McGhee.
Saint Mary's is the third West Coast Conference school the Matadors will face this season. Defeated by 13 points at Santa Clara last December, Northridge rebounded the following week at Pepperdine with a three-point victory against the Waves. This is CSUN's first trip to Moraga, Calif. since Dec. 22, 1995.
YOU CAN'T STOP THEM FROM EITHER SIDE OF THE LINE
In addition to setting a new season-high against Cal State Bakersfield with its 61.0 field goal percentage, Northridge also shot a season-high 53.3 percent from behind the three point line. Led by Josh Greene who made all three of his shots from three, the Matadors were 8-of-15 from behind the arc against the Roadrunners.
PROTECT AND SERVE
With 63 assists to his credit, against 40 turnovers in his 21 games played this season, Vinnie McGhee is ranked No. 3 in the Big West with his 1.58 assist-to-turnover ratio.
A BIG FAN OF BAKERSFIELD
In his inaugural game as a Matador, Stephen Maxwell earned his first ever collegiate double-double by finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds in front of the Northridge faithful versus Cal State Bakersfield (11/30/11). In CSUN's return matchup in Bakersfield, Maxwell scored 12 points to finish with his fourth double-digit scoring effort of the season. In addition to his efforts in both games against Bakersfield, the freshman forward scored 12 points versus Pacifica (12/17/11) and 10 points against UC Davis (1/14/12).
NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON'T
Led by Vinnie McGhee with 27, Cal State Northridge has six players who have recorded 10 or more steals this season. Other Matadors with double-digit steals include Stephan Hicks (19), Josh Greene (18), Aqeel Quinn (13), Allan Guei and Stephen Maxwell (12).
Recording 143 steals this season throughout their 21 games played, the Matadors are ranked No. 2 in the Big West with an average of 6.81 steals per game. CSUN trails only Long Beach State with its 168 total steals, and 7.30 spg, figures earned throughout the 49ers' 23 games played.
A PERFECT 10
Successful in all four of his field goal attempts at Cal State Bakersfield last Saturday, Ari Feldman tied his season/career high with 10 points for the third time this season. Feldman also finished with 10 points for CSUN at Hawai'i (11/14/11), and versus San Diego Christian (11/22/11).
BIG WEST BREAKTHROUGH
With its 76-68 victory over the Roadrunners, Northridge was the first Big West team in seven attempts to defeat Cal State Bakersfield this season. In addition to defeating the Matadors earlier this season, Bakersfield also earned in a win in its one game played against Cal Poly, and both contests against Cal State Fullerton and Pacific.
Michael Lizarraga earned his second career double-double on Saturday, Jan. 21, at Cal Poly, when he finished with a team-high 11 points and 10 rebounds. Lizarraga's performance was the first of back-to-back double-double efforts by a Matador as Stephan Hicks recorded 18 points and 10 assists the very next game versus Cal State Fullerton (1/26/12).
This is the fourth time this season that Hicks has finished with a double-double as he also recorded identical totals against Pacific (1/12/12) and Pacifica (12/17/11). His first-ever double-double took place in his second game as a Matador when he finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds at Hawai'i (11/14/11).
Josh Greene and freshman forward Stephen Maxwell are responsible for the remaining Northridge double-double efforts; Greene scored 15 points, and recorded 11 assists against Pacifica to record his first of the season, with Maxwell recording his versus Cal State Bakersfield (11/30/11). In his first appearance in a Northridge uniform, Maxwell scored 20 points and collected 11 rebounds. Five of the seven Northridge double-doubles earned this season took place inside the Matadome, with Hicks' performance at Hawai'i and Lizarraga's effort at Cal Poly being the exceptions.
Greene's double-double versus Pacific was the second of his career, the sophomore guard's inaugural effort took place last season on Nov. 20, 2010, when he scored 17 points, and grabbed 11 rebounds versus Vanguard. Lizarraga's first-ever double-double also took place during the 2010-11 season when he finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds against Long Beach State (2/12/2011).
DOUBLE YOUR DOUBLE-DOUBLE INFORMATION
Of the 61 double-doubles recorded this season by Big West players, nine have been earned by four different freshman. In addition to Matador swingman Stephan Hicks who leads all freshmen with four, UC Irvine's Will Davis II and UC Santa Barbara's Alan Williams have each recorded two double-double apiece. CSUN forward Stephen Maxwell completes the list with one double-double.
CSUN SCORING STREAKS
Prior to his game on Saturday, Jan. 21, at Cal Poly (CSUN's 17th of the season), redshirt freshman Stephan Hicks recorded double-digit point totals in the first 16 games of the season. This is the third-longest, regular season, double-digit scoring streak by a Matador during Bobby Braswell's 16-year tenure as head coach.
Recording double figures in the last two games of the 1999-2000 season, Brian Heinle scored 10 or more points in all 32 regular season games the following season to end his Northridge career with double-digit point totals in his final 34 games played. After Heinle, Ian Boylan (2002-03 season) is second with 18, followed by Hicks, Lenny Daniel and Rashaun McLemore. Daniel and McLemore each finished with double-digit totals in 14 straight games during the 2010-11 campaign.
FOUL THEM IF YOU DARE
Ranked third and fifth the Big West respectively with their 82.0 and 81.2 percent efforts from the free throw line this season, Aqeel Quinn and Stephan Hicks lead a Northridge team that is on pace to set a new all-time free throw percentage record. Pacific sophomore Ross Rivera (1st, 84.1 percent) and UC Davis freshman Tyrell Corbin (7th, 78.4 percent) are the only other underclassmen who currently occupy a top ten conference ranking in this category.
SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE
Vinnie McGhee ranks second in the Big West (conference games only) with his 2.06 assist-to-turnover ratio. McGhee has 35 assists, against 16 turnovers throughout his 10 conference games played.
YOU NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION
Stephan Hicks has provided a consistent level of production for Cal State Northridge as a redshirt freshman. He had a torrid start to his career with three 20-point efforts in the first four games, and most recently set a new career high by scoring 26 points at Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday, Jan. 28. Hicks has scored in double figures in 19 of 21 games, and has led the Matadors in scoring on 15 occasions. The 6-5 swingman ranks sixth in the Big West in scoring (16.0 ppg), fourth in rebounding (7.1 rpg), and leads all freshmen with four double-doubles. Hicks is also the Big West's fifth-most accurate free throw shooter, shooting 81.2 percent (108-of-133) from the line.
CSUN'S BLOCK PARTY
Led by Frankie Eteuati and his team-high 17 blocks, the Matadors enter Saturday's game with an average of 2.38 blocks per game. Single-handedly responsible for more than one-third of his team's 50 blocked shots, Eteuati set a new career high on Monday, Jan. 2, at UC Riverside, by earning four of CSUN's five blocks in his team's 11-point victory over the Highlanders.
THAT'S THE GUEI TO GET YOUR TEAMMATES INVOLVED
Freshman Allan Guei enters Saturday's game ranked No. 3 on the team with 49 assists, trailing only Vinnie McGhee and Josh Greene for the team's top spot in this category. McGhee leads the team with 65 assists, with Greene trailing him by only five with his total of 60.
AND THEN THERE WERE NONE
CSUN's Stephan Hicks and UC Santa Barbara's James Nunnally both had their double-digit scoring streaks stopped in their respective games on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Cal Poly, and at home against Long Beach State. The only players to score 10 or more points in every contest this season prior entering the round of Big West games scheduled on Jan. 21, Hicks ended that day with eight points against the Mustangs, with Nunnally scoring only five against the 49ers.
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE
Northridge possesses a conference-high 75.5 free throw percentage (335-for-444), 56 points ahead of No. 2 UC Santa Barbara's 69.9 percent free throw figure. Led by Allen Guei (24-for-29, 82.8 percent), Aqeel Quinn (41-for-50, 82 percent), Vinnie McGhee (31-for-38, 81.6 percent), Josh Greene (35-for-43, 81.4 percent) and Stephan Hicks (108-for-133, 81.2 percent) are the only Matadors who have made 10 free throws, and are shooting 80 percent or higher from the free throw line. If successful in his next two attempts, Davon Potts will join that group as he enters Thursday's game a perfect 8-for-8 from the line.
THAT'S THE (PRIME) TICKET
Cal State Northridge made the first of its two appearances on Fox Sports Prime Ticket on Saturday, Jan. 21, against the Cal Poly Mustangs. Even though the end result did not fall in CSUN's favor, the Matadors will have another opportunity to earn a win in front of a televised audience in their return matchup against the UC Irvine Anteaters. Taking place at the Bren Events Center, that game will also serve as the last of five scheduled television appearances for the Matadors this season. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
JUST GIVE HIM THE POINTS
Successful in all but five of his 29 trips to the free throw line this season, Allan Guei leads all Matadors (min. 10 attempts) with his 82.9 free throw percentage. If Davon Potts make his next two free throws, he will meet the minimum and overtake Guei with the highest free throw percentage. Potts has been successful in all eight trips to the charity stripe this season.
DANGEROUS FROM DOWNTOWN
Responsible for the final three of his team's points during its 16-0 second-half scoring run against UC Davis on Saturday, Jan. 14, Ari Feldman's three-point shot all but officially earned the win for the Matadors as the Aggies were unable to regain the lead for the remainder of the game. Even though he has only attempted 12 3-pt. feld goals in the nine Big West games he has appeared in, Feldman has been extremely successful from long range. Connecting on six of those shots, Feldman's 50 percent success rate would tie him with three other Big West players for the highest 3-pt. percentage in the conference (Big West games only) if Feldman met the Big West's minimum average of 1.0 made 3-pt. field goals per game.
IT'S BETTER TO RECEIVE THAN GIVE ...
Twenty-one games into the season, the Matadors are forcing their opponents to commit 16.1 turnovers per game. Leading the Big West with a +2.19 turnover margin, CSUN's turnover differential is almost one-half of a forced turnover higher than the +1.74 figure possessed by the conference's second-ranked team, Long Beach State. The Matadors have also forced their opponents to commit 338 turnovers, the second-highest amount in the conference behind Long Beach State's 350. Aiding the 49ers' forced turnover total is the total number of games they have competed in this season - in comparison to Long Beach State's 23 games, Northridge has competed in 21.
... OR IS IT BETTER TO RECEIVE?
Tying his season high with six assists earned against Long Beach State on Jan. 7, Allan Guei was responsible for nearly half of the 13 assists the Matadors recorded that game. This was the third time in his brief collegiate carer that Guei collected six assists, the first two occasions also took place inside the Matadome against San Diego Christian (11/22/11) and Pacifica (12/17/11).
THREE TIMES THE TROUBLE
Competing in only his second season as a Matador, Josh Greene is building a reputation as one of the most dangerous three-point threats in the Big West. Leading all Matadors (min. 10 3-pt. FGM) with his 35.0 3-pt. shooting percentage (41-for-117) , Greene and Vinnie McGhee are the only two Matadors who have made 30 or more baskets from behind the arc this season. McGhee's 27.2 3-pt. percentage (34-for-125) is the third-highest on the team, trailing only Green and Aqeel Quinn's 28.8 percent figure. Connecting on 19-of-66 3-pt. shots, Quinn rounds out CSUN's top three from three.
The trio's shooting prowess helped Northridge earn its first Big West victory of the year on Jan. 2, at UC Riverside, as Greene, McGhee, and Quinn were collectively responsible for seven of the team's 11 3-pt. field goals made in CSUN's 11-point victory.
ROOM FOR ONE MORE?
As previously mentioned, Josh Greene, Aqeel Quinn, and Vinnie McGhee are CSUN's top three-point shooters who have made a minimum of 10 field goals this season. Successful in eight of his 15 attempts (53.3 percent) from behind the arc, Ari Feldman is only two field goals shy of becoming the fifth Matador with 10 or more 3-pt. field goals made this season. In addition to Greene, McGhee, and Quinn, Stephan Hicks has made 13-of-49 3-pt. field goals.
CLEANING THE GLASS
Averaging 34.4 rebounds per game, CSUN leads all Big West teams with its 13.81 offensive rebounds per game average. Freshman Stephan Hicks leads all Matadors, and is fourth in the conference with 2.71 o/rpg.
The Cal State Northridge men's basketball program announced that Michael Lizarraga has been granted a season of competition waiver by the NCAA and will be eligible to play for the Matadors for the final 20 games of the 2011-12 season beginning Saturday, Dec. 17 against Pacifica College.
Lizarraga, a 6-7 forward from Dixon, Calif., averaged 3.5 points and 2.7 rebounds while playing in 79 games during his Matador career which began in 2007-08. As a senior in 2010-11, he appeared in a career-high 32 games, starting 10, while averaging a career-high 5.9 points per game and shooting 52.2% from the floor. He finished the season as the teams' second leading rebounder at 4.2 rebounds per game as the Matadors advanced to the Big West Tournament semifinals.
Lizarraga was awarded a special Inspirational Award by the Big West Conference head coaches as the nation's only deaf NCAA Division I men's basketball student-athlete following the 2010-11 season.
A YOUNG MAN'S GAME
The youngest Division I team in the nation, the 19 players on CSUN's roster possess a combined 13 years of previous collegiate experience for an average of 0.68 years per player. Another Big West counterpart, UC Irvine, ranks second with 0.69 years of average experience, with Navy completing the top three with an average of 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 19-man Matador roster has only four seniors, and zero juniors, with the remaining positions filled by seven freshmen, six sophomores, and two redshirt freshmen.
EARLY SIGNING SUCCESS
During the early signing period in November, Brandon Perry and Donovan Johnson signed national letters of intent, and are committed to playing for Cal State Northridge next season. Perry, a 6-6 forward, played a pivotal role in helping Taft High School earn its spot in the Los Angeles City championships during the 2010-11 season. Ranked by many publications as one of the top 150 players in the country, Perry helped Taft earn a 29-3 record and a perfect 10-0 mark in the West Valley League as a junior last season.
A 6-3 guard hailing from Palisades High School, Johnson averaged 16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and steals per game throughout the 2010-11 season to gain Los Angeles All-City and Western League Most Valuable Player accolades. As a junior, Johnson scored in double figures in 28 of the team's 32 games, highlighted by his season-high 30-point effort against Westchester High School.
CHEER FOR THE MATADORS AT HOME, EVEN WHEN THEY ARE ON THE ROAD
During the past four seasons, 32 games involving CSUN basketball have been featured prominently on CBS, Fox Sports Net and ESPN. During CSUN's march to the NCAA Tournament during the 2008-09 season, Matador games were televised a school-record nine times. Northridge basketball fans will have the opportunity to see their team compete in five televised broadcasts, on four different networks, throughout the 2011-12 season.
Already featured nationally by ESPN on Nov. 15, 2011, at Hawai'i, Fox Sports Prime Ticket on Jan. 21, 2012 , at Cal Poly, and Fox Sports West on Feb. 4, at Long Beach State, the Matadors' next television appearance will take place on Thursday, Feb. 9, on Comcast SportsNet California at UC Davis. The Matadors-Aggies matchup is the penultimate television appearance by CSUN this season, the final television broadcast of the season will take place on Feb. 25, at UC Irvine, on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. Northridge basketball fans are encouraged to check their local listings to find the exact channel listings for ESPN, Fox Sports Prime Ticket, Fox Sports West, and Comcast SportsNet California.
Predicted to finish in eighth place last season as announced in the Big West Conference's annual preseason poll, the Matadors proved the experts wrong, eventually finishing the 2010-11 season in third place with a 9-7 conference record en route to their berth in the semifinals of the Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
This year, the pre-season results are exactly the same as CSUN tallied 61 points to earn another eighth-place finish, just two points behind a UC Davis squad that finished seventh, and six points ahead of ninth-place UC Irvine (55 points). Collecting 20 first-place votes from the 24-member voting panel for a total of 212 points, Long Beach State was selected the favorite to claim the 2011-12 Big West men's basketball title. UC Santa Barbara was picked to finish second in this year's media poll, receiving the four remaining first-place votes and 196 points, with Cal Poly rounding out the top three with 158 points. Cal State Fullerton finished fourth with 131 points, with UC Riverside and Pacific completing the poll in fifth and sixth place with 114 and 91 points.