Matadors Face UC Riverside in 2011-12 Home Finale, Seek Season Sweep
GAME #26 (Big West Game #14):
Northridge Matadors (7-18, 3-10 Big West) vs. UC Riverside Highlanders (12-15, 5-8 Big West)
Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 - 7:05 p.m. PST
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Bill Courtland - PBP, Alan Zinsmeister - Analyst)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
GAME #27 (Big West Game #15):
Northridge Matadors at UC Irvine Anteaters (10-17, 5-8 Big West)
Bren Events Center (5,000) - Irvine, Calif.
Televised Broadcast: Fox Sports Prime Ticket
Live Stats: None
Streaming Video: None
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Bill Courtland - PBP, Alan Zinsmeister - Analyst)
HIGHLANDERS VISIT THE MATADOME ON CSUN'S SENIOR NIGHT
Cal State Northridge began its Big West road schedule with a 63-52 victory on Jan. 2, at UC Riverside, and can earn its eighth regular season sweep over the Highlanders in the last nine years with another victory Wednesday night. The Highlanders-Matadors matchup will also serve as the final home appearance in a Northridge uniform for three members of CSUN men's basketball's 2011-12 senior class - John Hayward-Mayhew, Ari Feldman, and Vinnie McGhee - who will be honored in a senior night ceremony following the game. Live stats, internet radio broadcast, and in-game Twitter updates will also be available on GoMatadors.com.
All-Time Series Record Against UC Riverside: Northridge leads 36-30
Home Record: 19-13
Away Record: 16-17
Neutral Record: 1-0
This Season's Result: Northridge 63, at UC Riverside 52 (1/2/12)
Last Season's Results: UC Riverside 70, at Northridge 61 (1/13/11) and at UC Riverside 73, Northridge 70 (2/3/11)
Last Northridge Home Win: Northridge 64, UC Riverside 50 (1/14/10)
Series Streak: Northridge +1
A CLOSER LOOK AT UC RIVERSIDE
The Matadors handed the Highlanders the only loss in their first five Big West games of the season; earning four wins throughout that timespan, UC Riverside crafted one of the most successful conference-opening starts in the program's history before losing seven of its last eight against Big West opposition.
Facing the Highlanders in their Big West opener, Northridge led from start to finish and withstood a strong second-half rally defeat the Highlanders 63-52. Stephan Hicks and Josh Greene each added 13 points to CSUN's cause, with Highlander guards Phil Martin and Robert Smith leading the way for their team with 22 and 16 points. Outside of Martin and Smith, the other seven Highlanders who saw action that evening were responsible for 14 points combined.
As was the case in last January's game, Martin and Smith also lead UC Riverside in scoring with 17.7 and 9.0 points per game. Martin is also the Highlanders' leading rebounder, averaging with 5.5 rebounds per game.
Last week, the Matadors faced the Big West's top-ranked defense in Cal Poly, and avenged their early-season blowout loss by scoring the most points of any opponent the Mustangs faced in the last three seasons en route to their 94-81 victory. This week, the Matadors hope to achieve a similar result against UC Riverside, the conference's No. 2 ranked defense.
In addition to allowing their opponents an average of 62.7 ppg, the Highlanders also possess the stingiest three-point field goal defense in the Big West - a collective effort that will be surely be tested by CSUN's three-point shooting trio of Josh Greene, Vinnie McGhee, and Aqeel Quinn.
Prior to dropping its home game against the Highlanders last season, Northridge possessed a six-game home win streak against UC Riverside. The Matadors have defeated the Highlanders in 12 of their last 14 head-to-head meetings, and eight of the last 10 played inside the Matadome.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR NORTHRIDGE – AT UC IRVINE
Cal State Northridge will make the last of its five appearances on television this season against the UC Irvine Anteaters. Taking place this Saturday, Feb. 25, Fox Sports Prime Ticket will begin its broadcast from the Bren Events Center starting at 7:30 p.m. An internet radio broadcast and in-game Twitter updates will also be available at GoMatadors.com.
Defeated by nine points in its Big West home opener, Northridge will look to earn a split of its season series against a UC Irvine team competing in its final home game of the season. The Anteaters are 7-6 overall, and 2-5 in conference competition at the Bren Events Center, and will end their current three-game homestand against a CSUN squad competing in the first of back-to-back Big West road games.
In their first meeting of the season, the Anteaters shot 48.1 percent from the field, and built a 19-point halftime lead against Northridge. After shooting only 24.2 percent in the first half, the Matadors success from the field increased dramatically in the second, as CSUN made 46.4 percent of its shots to whittle the Anteaters' halftime advantage to only three points. Unfortunately for the Matadors, UC Irvine ended the final 6:33 on a 16-10 run to defeat Northridge by nine. Led by Derek Flowers who scored a game-high 21 points, four Anteaters finished with a double-digit point total. Stephan Hicks led all Matadors with 17 points, and was one of three CSUN players to score 10 or more points against the Anteaters.
THANK YOU SENIORS!
Wednesday night's game will mark the final appearance in a Northridge uniform for three members of the Matador men's basketball team. In addition to fifth-year senior Michael Lizarraga, who will be recognized after being granted another year of eligibility by the NCAA earlier this season, Ari Feldman, John Hayward-Mayhew, and Vinnie McGhee will be honored in a special postgame ceremony following the conclusion of the Matadors-Highlanders matchup.
THAT'S THE (PRIME) TICKET
Cal State Northridge made the first of its two appearances this season 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 victory in front of a Prime Ticket audience in their return matchup against the UC Irvine Anteaters this Saturday. 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.
ON FIRE IN FEBRUARY
Josh Greene has scored 20 or more points in four of CSUN's last five games (the odd game out took place at Pacific, on Feb. 11, when he ended his evening with 19 pts.), has finished as the Matadors' leading scorer in their last six games, and is averaging 20.7 ppg this month.
MUSTANGS TAMED BY CSUN OFFENSE
Cal State Northridge recorded the highest point total of any Cal Poly opponent in the last three seasons, and avenged its blowout loss suffered last month in San Luis Obispo by scoring 94 points against the Big West's No. 1 defense. Prior to their matchup last Wednesday, Feb. 15, the Mustangs allowed a conference-low 59.3 points per game.
FIVE TIMES THE TROUBLE
Led by Josh Greene with 23 points, five Matadors finished in double figures to help Northridge earn a 94-81 victory over the Cal Poly Mustangs on Feb. 15. In addition to Greene, Vinnie McGhee added a season-high 19 points, with Stephen Maxwell (16), Michael Lizarraga (season-high 15), and Stephan Hicks (13) rounding out the quintet of double-digit scorers.
This is the second time that Northridge had five or more players finish with 10 or more points this season; in the Matadors' 99-58 win over Pacifica (12/17/11), Hicks (18), Greene (15), Maxwell (12), Allan Guei (11), Lizarraga (10), and Aqeel Quinn (10) led CSUN in scoring.
JUST GIVE HIM THE POINTS
Successful in 56 of his 65 trips to the line this season, Josh Greene leads the Big West Conference with his 86.2 free throw percentage.
CLEANING THE GLASS
In addition to averaging 34.5 rebounds per game, Northridge leads all Big West teams with its 13.60 offensive rebounds per game average. Stephen Maxwell and Stephan Hicks are ranked No. 4 and No. 5 in the conference respectively with 2.90 and 2.60 o/rpg.
OPPONENTS BECOMING TEAMMATES – ON THE LINE
Northridge head coach Bobby Braswell and his staff are teaming up with the Black Coaches and Administrators and On the Line, a national prostate cancer awareness and education campaign during Black History Month to raise awareness of prostate cancer among African American men. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, making prostate cancer more prevalent than breast cancer. African Americans are at an even greater risk, as one in five will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Over 100 NCAA Division I African American men's basketball head coaches will show their support from Feb. 18-26 as part of Statement Week, visit www.ONTHELINE.com to show your support for this cause and to obtain additional information about prostate cancer, risk factors, screening, diagnosis, and treatment options.
REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS
Currently shooting 75.5 percent from the free throw line this season, this year's Matador men's basketball team 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.
At its current pace, this year's team will finish in seventh place all-time with 183 three-point field goals. After 25 games, the Matadors have connected on 156-of-492 attempts.
Vinnie McGhee's next three-point attempt will land the senior guard in 10th place alongside himself in the Northridge record books with 152 three-point attempts in a single season. McGhee also ended the 2011-12 campaign with 152 attempts in 32 games played.
THE FIRST OF MANY
Entering Wednesday's game with 123 free throws made, freshman guard/forward Stephan Hicks will add his name to CSUN's single-season record books once he connects on another three shots from the line. Brian Heinle (2000-01) and Willie Galick (2009-10) are currently tied for ninth place with 126 free throws made in their respective seasons.
NO SHOT FOR YOU!
If sophomore forward Frankie Eteuati blocks another two shots, he will earn a 10th-place spot alongside Brian Heinle and Cliff Higgins with 27 blocked shots in a single season. Heinle recorded his total during the 1999-2000 season, with Higgins swatting his shots throughout the 1982-83 campaign.
SINGLE SEASON RAINMAKER
With 53 three-point field goals to his credit this season, Josh Greene can also add his name to the Northridge single-season record books by making another four shots from behind the arc. Doing so will tie Greene with Gerald Rhoden (1996-97), Ian Boylan (2002-03), and Mike Efevberha (2005-06) in eighth place with 57 three-point field goals.
THE MATADORS' TWO FROM THREE
Collectively responsible for eight of the Matadors' nine three-point field goals, Josh Greene and Vinnie McGhee helped CSUN come within 1.9 seconds of earning the team's second straight victory against the Pacific Tigers on Feb. 11. Greene set a new season high by making five of his seven shots from three, with McGhee tying his season high for the seventh time with his three three-point baskets. In addition to his efforts at Pacific, McGhee has also made three from three at USC, vs. San Diego Christian, at Santa Clara, against Pacifica, Cal State Fullerton, and at UC Davis.
In the Matadors' following game against Cal Poly, McGhee continued his torrid shooting from long distance, set a new season-high, and tied his career high with five three-point field goals.
DAMAGE FROM DOWNTOWN
Bolstered by the shooting performances of Josh Greene and Vinnie McGhee, Cal State Northridge recorded a season-high 64.3 three-point percentage on Feb. 11, at Pacific. In addition to Greene (5-for-7) and McGhee (3-for-5), John Hayward-Mayhew recorded CSUN's other basket from three in his only attempt of the night. Including Stephan Hicks who missed his only shot from long range, the Matadors shot 9-of-14 from three.
DROPPING DIMES ALL OVER THE COURT
With a sizable contingent of family and friends in attendance, Vinnie McGhee set a new career high at Pacific by earning nine of CSUN's 15 assists. In his next game versus Cal Poly on Feb. 15, McGhee earned half of the Matadors' 14 assists. McGhee is currently No. 4 in the conference with his 3.36 assists per game average.
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.
NORTHRIDGE VS. THE NATION
The most successful Big West team at the free throw line this season, Northridge is ranked No. 20 in the nation with its 75.4 free throw percentage. Weber St. leads all Division I teams with its 80.9 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 six 10-rebound games.
NOTHING BUT NET
On Saturday, Jan. 28, at Cal State Bakersfield, the Matadors shot a season-high 61.0 percent by making 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.
THEIR NAME IS ON THE LIST
Earning a split of their season series against Cal State Bakersfield with their 76-68 win on Jan. 28, the Matadors also handed the Roadrunners the 17th loss in their program's history at the Icardo Center. Completed in 1989, Bakersfield possesses a 173-17 all-time record at the Icardo Center as of Feb. 21. Including their most recent victory over the Roadrunners, the Matadors are responsible for two of those 17 losses suffered by Bakersfield in its on-campus facility.
CSUN ADDS LATE-SEASON GAME AT 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.
NOW YOU SEE IT… NOW YOU DON'T
Led by Vinnie McGhee with 30, Cal State Northridge has eight players who have recorded 10 or more steals this season. Other Matadors with double-digit totals include Stephan Hicks (23), Josh Greene (21), Stephen Maxwell (14), Aqeel Quinn, Allan Guei (13), Michael Lizarraga (11), and Ari Feldman (10).
With 162 steals, the Matadors are ranked No. 2 in the Big West with an average of 6.48 steals per game.
PROTECT AND SERVE
With 84 assists to his credit, against 52 turnovers, Vinnie McGhee is ranked No. 3 in the Big West with his 1.62 assist-to-turnover ratio.
YOU CAN'T STOP THEM FROM EITHER SIDE OF THE LINE
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 three-point distance. 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.
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 (1/28/11), 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).
A PERFECT 10
Successful in all four of his field goal attempts at Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday, Jan. 28, 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 against San Diego Christian (11/22/11).
BIG WEST BREAKTHROUGH
Northridge is the only Big West team in eight attempts to defeat Cal State Bakersfield this season with its 76-68 victory over the Roadrunners. In addition to defeating the Matadors earlier this season, Bakersfield also earned in a win in both games against Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton and Pacific.
CSUN'S BLOCK PARTY
Led by Frankie Eteuati and his team-high 25 blocks, the Matadors average 2.48 blocks per game. Eteuati is singlehandedly responsible for nearly half of his team's 62 blocked shots, and is ranked No. 5 in the Big West with 1.04 bpg.
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).
Hicks also recorded two double-doubles with identical numbers against Pacific (1/12/12) and Pacifica (12/17/11), and most recently with his against Fresno State (11 points and 12 rebounds, 2/18/12). 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).
Six of the eight 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 71 double-doubles recorded this season by Big West players, 10 have been earned by four different freshman. In addition to Matador swingman Stephan Hicks who leads all freshmen with five, CSUN forward Stephen Maxwell, UC Irvine's Will Davis II and UC Santa Barbara's Alan Williams have each recorded two double-double apiece.
SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE
Vinnie McGhee is ranked No. 1 in the Big West (conference games only) with his 2.41 assist-to-turnover ratio. McGhee has 53 assists, against 22 turnovers, throughout his 13 conference games played.
CSUN SCORING STREAKS
Redshirt freshman Stephan Hicks recorded double-digit point totals in the first 16 games of the season, a streak that was snapped in his first visit to Cal Poly on Jan. 21. 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 points in his final 34 games as a Matador. 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.
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 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 22 of 25 games, and has led the Matadors in scoring on 15 occasions. The 6-5 swingman ranks No. 6 in the Big West in scoring (15.4 ppg), No. 3 in rebounding (7.2 rpg), and leads all freshmen with five double-doubles. Hicks is also the Big West's sixth-most accurate free throw shooter, connecting on 80.9 percent (123-of-152) of his opportunities from the line.
THAT'S THE GUEI TO GET YOUR TEAMMATES INVOLVED
Freshman Allan Guei is ranked No. 3 on the team with 49 assists, trailing only Vinnie McGhee and Josh Greene for the team's top spot. McGhee leads the team with 86 assists, with Greene trailing with his total of 71.
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's action 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 75.4 free throw percentage (404-for-536), comfortably ahead of No. 2 UC Santa Barbara's 69.8 percent free throw figure. Led by Josh Greene (56-for-65, 86.2 percent), Aqeel Quinn (45-for-54, 83.3 percent), Allen Guei (24-for-29, 82.8 percent), and Stephan Hicks (123-for-152, 80.9 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 is a perfect 8-for-8 from the line.
IT'S BETTER TO RECEIVE THAN GIVE …
Cal State Northridge is forcing its opponents to commit 15.2 turnovers per game, the highest average in the conference. The Matadors are also ranked No. 3 in the Big West with their +1.12 turnover margin.
... OR IS IT BETTER TO GIVE THAN 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 career 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).
THANK YOU VERY MUCH
Northridge has forced its opponents to commit 379 turnovers, a conference-high total that is equivalent to the number of turnovers Long Beach State has forced this season. Even though the two have matching totals, the 49ers have competed in one more game compared to the Matadors.
THREE TIMES THE TROUBLE
Josh Greene is building a reputation as one of the most dangerous three-point threats in the Big West. Leading all Matadors (min. 10 3FGM) with his 37.1 three-point shooting percentage (53-for-143), Greene and Vinnie McGhee are the only two Matadors who have made 30 or more baskets from behind the arc this season. McGhee's 30.5 percentage (46-for-151) is the second-highest on the team, with Aqeel Quinn's 27.5 percent figure (19-of-69) rounding out CSUN's top three from three.
ROOM FOR ONE MORE?
As previously mentioned, Josh Greene, Vinnie McGhee, and Aqeel Quinn are CSUN's most successful three-point shooters this season. Ari Feldman (8-for-15, 53.3 percent) and John Hayward-Mayhew (8-for-18, 44.4 percent) are only two field goals shy from becoming the fifth and sixth Matadors with 10 or more three-point field goals made this season. In addition to Greene, McGhee, and Quinn, Stephan Hicks has made 13 baskets from three.
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 Dec. 17 against Pacifica College.
A 6-7 forward from Dixon, Calif., Lizarraga 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. 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 IF THEY ARE ON THE ROAD
During the past four seasons, 32 games involving Northridge basketball have been featured prominently on television. During CSUN's march to the NCAA Tournament during the 2008-09 season, Matador games were televised a school-record nine times. Fans of Matador men's basketball 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, Fox Sports West on Feb. 4, at Long Beach State, and Comcast SportsNet California on Feb. 9, at UC Davis, the Matadors' next television appearance will take place this Saturday, Feb. 25, at UC Irvine, on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
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.