March 14, 2012

Northridge Men's Basketball 2011-12 Season Review

2011-12 Final Stats and Season Review

FRESHMAN PHENOM


Northridge guard/forward Stephan Hicks was named Big West Freshman of the Year as announced by the conference office prior to the start of the 2012 Big West Basketball Tournament. Hicks is the second Matador in the program's history to earn top freshman honors, Ian Boylan earned Freshman of the Year recognition shortly after the conclusion of the 2001-02 season.

"I am very excited and happy for Stephan receiving Freshman of the Year," said Northridge head coach Bobby Braswell. "From the first game of the year he worked hard, played aggressively on both ends of the court, and established himself as a future star of the Big West Conference."

In addition to his team-high 15.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, the seventh- and third-highest averages respectively in the Big West, Hicks' 81.3 free throw percentage was the fifth-highest in the conference. The top freshman in the Big West in all three major categories, Hicks also led all Big West freshmen with five double-doubles, five 20-point games, and six 10-rebound games.

NORTHRIDGE UNDERCLASSMEN EARN ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS

Two members of the Cal State Northridge men's basketball program received All-Big West recognition as announced by the conference office. In addition to being named Big West Freshman of the Year, guard/forward Stephan Hicks and sophomore guard Josh Greene received Honorable Mention as voted on by the nine conference head coaches.

Of the four underclassmen who were named to any of the three All-Conference teams, two of those student-athletes compete for Cal State Northridge. Including Hicks and Greene, members from the Matador men's basketball team have been honored 43 times throughout the 11 seasons that Cal State Northridge has competed in the Big West. 

1 = 1+1

The only freshman to earn All-Conference accolades, Stephan Hicks is the first freshman since Cal State Northridge became an NCAA Division I member (prior to the start of the 1990-91 season) to lead the team in scoring and rebounding. Before Hicks, Carl Holmes (1997-98) was the only freshman to finish with a double-digit scoring average, finishing with 11.0 points per game. Holmes was the Matadors' fourth-highest scorer that season.

Prior to this season, Thomas Shewmake (2003-04) was the only Matador to lead his team in rebounding as a freshman. Shewmake ended his inaugural season at CSUN with 6.6 rebounds per game.

THE START OF SOMETHING GREAT

Members from both Cal State Northridge basketball teams received Freshman of the Year honors, as Stephan Hicks and guard Janae Sharp were rewarded for their consistent and exemplary performance throughout their respective debut seasons. This is the first time ever that the men's and women's Big West Freshmen of the Year were awarded to players from the same school, in the same season.

SENIOR SEND-OFF

On Feb. 22 against UC Riverside, four members of the Matador men's basketball team made their final home appearance in a Northridge uniform. In addition to fifth-year senior Michael Lizarraga, who was granted an additional year of eligibility by the NCAA earlier this season, Ari Feldman, John Hayward-Mayhew, and Vinnie McGhee were honored for their dedication and contributions to the Matador men's basketball program.

REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS

This year's Matador men's basketball team set a new all-time program record with its 75.5 free throw percentage, overtaking the 1961-62 Matadors and their 73.6 percent mark (454-for-617) for the top spot in CSUN's record books.

NO SHOT FOR YOU!

Recording 28 blocked shots throughout his sophomore season, forward Frankie Eteuati is now ranked No. 7 all-time with 49 career blocks. Eteuati's 28 blocks are also the eighth-highest, single-season total recorded by a Matador. 

SINGLE SEASON RAINMAKER

Finishing with 57 three-point field goals made in a single season, sophomore guard Josh Greene is now ranked No. 8 all-time in the Matador men's basketball record books. 

MODEL OF CONSISTENCY

Led by his team-high 83.1 free throw percentage recorded this past season, Josh Greene is now ranked No. 4 all-time with his 82.9 career free throw percentage. In 2011-12 Greene was successful in 64 of his 77 trips to the charity stripe, as a freshman he connected on 57-of-69 free throw attempts.

MCGHEE'S SUCCESS FROM THREE

Senior guard Vinnie McGhee ends his career as one of the most prolific three-point shooters in Matador men's basketball history, and is now No. 3 all-time with 154 career three-point field goals made.

LEAP DAY LEDGER

The Matadors' season finale at Cal State Fullerton was the fourth time in the program's history that Northridge competed on a leap day. CSUN's first-ever game played on Feb. 29 took place at home, against Cal State Fullerton, during the 1963-64 season. That evening, the Matadors defeated the Titans 117-93. Forty-eight years later, the Titans avenged that leap day loss by defeating the Matadors by 11 inside Titan Gym.

In its other two leap day games, Northridge was defeated by UC Santa Barbara 69-67 during the 1971-72 season, and by Southern Utah 89-75 at the end of the 1991-92 campaign. 

THANK YOU VERY MUCH

Cal State Northridge forced its opponents to commit 426 turnovers this season, the second-highest amount in the conference. Averaging a conference-high 15.2 forced turnovers per game, the Matadors' turnover total is only 22 less than Long Beach State's conference-high 448 forced turnovers. Even though the Matadors finished second to the 49ers in this statistical category, Long Beach competed in 30 games compared to CSUN's 28.

ON FIRE IN FEBRUARY

Josh Greene scored 20 or more points in four of CSUN's last eight games, finished as the Matadors' leading scorer in seven of their last nine, and averaged 17.8 points per game in the nine contests that took place in February.

NORTHRIDGE VS. THE NATION

The most successful Big West team at the free throw line this season, Northridge ended the 2011-12 regular season ranked No. 20 in the nation with its 75.5 free throw percentage. Weber St. led all Division I teams with its 81.0 percentage.

FIVE TIMES THE TROUBLE

Led by Josh Greene with 23 points, five Matadors finished in double figures to help Northridge earn a 94-81 home victory over the Cal Poly Mustangs. 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 was 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 64-of-77 trips to the line this season, Josh Greene finished ranked No. 3 the Big West Conference with his team-high 83.1 free throw percentage. 

MUSTANGS TAMED BY CSUN'S 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 in its 94-81 win on Feb. 15. Prior to that matchup, the Mustangs allowed a conference-low 59.3 points per game.

CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARDS

Ending his inaugural season at Northridge ranked No. 2 on the team with 6.4 rebounds per game, Stephen Maxwell has been one of the Matadors' top rebounders throughout the entire season. The freshman forward recorded five 10-rebound games, finishing with 11 boards vs. CSU Bakersfield (11/30/11), at Washington (12/22/11), vs. Fresno State (2/18/12), and a career/season high 12 rebounds against Cal Poly (2/15/12) and at Cal State Fullerton (2/29/12). Maxwell also finished No. 6 in the Big West in rebounds, and No. 4 with 3.00 offensive rebounds per game.

CLEANING THE GLASS

In addition to averaging 35.1 rebounds per game, Northridge led all Big West teams with its 14.18 offensive rebounds per game average. Stephen Maxwell and Stephan Hicks finished No. 4 and No. 5 in the conference respectively with 3.00 and 2.79 o/rpg.

OPPONENTS BECOMING TEAMMATES - ON THE LINE

Northridge head coach Bobby Braswell and his staff teamed 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 showed 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. 

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 road 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 baskets from behind the arc.

In addition to his efforts at Pacific, McGhee has also made three from three at USC (11/11/11), vs. San Diego Christian (11/22/11), at Santa Clara (12/3/11), against Pacifica (12/17/11), Cal State Fullerton (1/26/12), and at UC Davis (2/9/12). 

In the Matadors' following game against Cal Poly, McGhee continued his torrid shooting from long distance and set a new season high, tying his career high with five three-point field goals made.

GREENE MAKES OPPONENTS SEE RED

Stephan Hicks in not the only Matador who has scored 20 or more points numerous times this season as Josh Greene has also recorded five 20-point games. Of those five, four were earned within a two-week timespan earlier this month. Greene scored a career-high 26 points at Long Beach State (2/4/12), 21 at UC Davis (2/9/12), 23 vs. Cal Poly (2/15/12), and 20 vs. Fresno State (2/18/12). Greene's other 20-point performance took place last November vs. San Diego Christian (11/22/12).

MAKING THE MOST OF THEIR MINUTES

On Feb. 25, at UC Irvine, Frankie Eteuati set a new career high by scoring seven points in his 14 minutes played. Allen Jiles IV also recorded one of his best stat lines as a Matador as he made both of his shots from the field, and was successful in his only trip to the free throw line to finish with a season-high five points. Combined, Eteuati and Jiles scored 12 of CSUN's 20 bench points.

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 ended the season ranked No. 4 in the conference with 3.43 assists per game.

MATADOME MADNESS

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. 

NOTHING BUT NET

On Saturday, Jan. 28, at CSU 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-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 CSU 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. 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.

NOW YOU SEE IT... NOW YOU DON'T

Led by Vinnie McGhee with 34, Cal State Northridge had eight players who recorded 10 or more steals this season. Other Matadors with double-digit totals include Stephan Hicks (25), Josh Greene (22), Stephen Maxwell (17), Aqeel Quinn (15), Allan Guei (13), Michael Lizarraga (12), and Ari Feldman (10).

GOTCHA!

With 175 steals, the Matadors finished No. 2 in the conference with 6.25 steals per game. 

PROTECT AND SERVE

With 96 assists to his credit, against 56 turnovers, Vinnie McGhee ended his senior season ranked No. 3 in the Big West with his 1.66 assist-to-turnover ratio. 

BIG WEST BREAKTHROUGH

Northridge was the only Big West team in eight attempts to defeat CSU Bakersfield this season with its 76-68 victory over the Roadrunners. In addition to defeating the Matadors in its first meeting of the season, Bakersfield also earned in a win in both games played against Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, and Pacific.

YOU CAN'T STOP THEM FROM EITHER SIDE OF THE LINE

Setting a new season-high against CSU Bakersfield (1/28/12) with its 61.0 field goal percentage (25-of-41), 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 against CSU Bakersfield (11/30/11). In CSUN's return game, Maxwell scored 12 points to record, at that time, his fourth double-digit scoring effort of the season. 

CSUN'S BLOCK PARTY

Led by Frankie Eteuati and his team-high 28 blocks, the Matadors averaged 2.39 blocks per game. Eteuati is singlehandedly responsible for more than 40 percent his team's 64 blocked shots, and finished the season ranked No. 5 in the Big West with 1.04 blocks per game.

MATADOR DOUBLE-DOUBLES

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 against 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).

Josh Greene and freshman forward Stephen Maxwell are responsible for the remaining Northridge double-double efforts; Greene scored 15 points, and earned 11 assists against Pacifica to record his first of the season, with Maxwell recording his two of his three against Cal State Bakersfield (11/30/11) and Cal Poly (2/15/12). 

In his first appearance in a Northridge uniform, Maxwell scored 20 points and collected 11 rebounds. Against Cal Poly, Maxwell finished with 16 points and 12 boards. Maxwell ended his freshman season the same way it started, recording the Matadors' final double-double of the season, ending with 15 points and 12 rebounds in CSUN's season finale at Cal State Fullerton (2/29/12).

Greene's double-double versus Pacifica 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).

2011-12 Northridge Double-Doubles

Stephan Hicks (5) - 22 points, 17 rebounds at Hawaii (11/14/11); 18 points, 10 rebounds vs. Pacifica (12/17/11); 18 points, 10 rebounds vs. Pacific (1/12/12); 18 points, 10 rebounds vs. Cal State Fullerton (1/26/12); 11 points, 12 rebounds vs. Fresno State (2/18/12)

Stephen Maxwell (3)
- 20 points, 11 rebounds vs. CSU Bakersfield (11/30/11); 16 points, 12 rebounds vs. Cal Poly (2/15/12); 15 points, 12 rebounds at Cal State Fullerton (2/29/12)

Josh Greene (1) - 15 points, 11 assists vs. Pacifica (12/17/11)

Michael Lizarraga (1) - 11 points, 10 rebounds at Cal Poly (1/21/12)

DOUBLE YOUR DOUBLE-DOUBLE INFORMATION

Of the 83 double-doubles recorded throughout the regular season by Big West players, 12 were earned by four different freshman. In addition to Matador swingman Stephan Hicks who led all freshmen with five, CSUN forward Stephen Maxwell (3 double-doubles), UC Irvine's Will Davis II (2) and UC Santa Barbara's Alan Williams (2) were collectively responsible for the other seven.

SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE

Vinnie McGhee ended his CSUN career ranked No. 2 in the Big West (conference games only) with his 2.32 assist-to-turnover ratio. McGhee recorded 65 assists, against 28 turnovers in his 16 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-ever game against 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 straight games as a Matador. After Heinle, Ian Boylan (2002-03 season) is second with 18 consecutive double-figure point totals, 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.

THAT'S THE GUEI TO GET YOUR TEAMMATES INVOLVED

Freshman Allan Guei ended his freshman season ranked No. 3 on the team with 52 assists, trailing only Vinnie McGhee and Josh Greene for the top spot. McGhee led the team with 98 assists, Greene finished second with a career-high 81 assists.

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 set a new career high by scoring 26 points at CSU Bakersfield on Jan. 28. Hicks scored in double figures in 23 of 28 games, and led the Matadors in scoring on 16 occasions. The 6-5 swingman finished his debut season as a Matador ranked No. 7 in the Big West in scoring (15.1 ppg), No. 3 in rebounding (7.1 rpg), and led all freshmen with five double-doubles. Hicks was also the Big West's fifth-most accurate free throw shooter, connecting on 81.3 percent (135-of-166) of his opportunities from the line.

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 before 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 finishing with five against the 49ers.

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE

Northridge led all Big West teams with its 75.5 free throw percentage (456-for-604), finishing comfortably ahead of No. 2 UC Santa Barbara's 69.9 percent free throw figure. Led by Josh Greene (64-for-77, 83.1 percent), Aqeel Quinn (49-for-59, 83.1 percent), Allen Guei (24-for-29, 82.8 percent), and Stephan Hicks (135-for-166, 81.3 percent) were the only Matadors who made 10 free throws, and shot 80 percent or higher from the free throw line. 

IT'S BETTER TO RECEIVE THAN GIVE ...

Cal State Northridge forced its opponents to commit 15.2 turnovers per game this season, the highest average in the conference. The Matadors also finished No. 3 in the Big West with their +1.50 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).

JUST MISSED THE MARK

John Hayward-Mayhew (8-for-20, 40 percent) fell two field goals shy from becoming the sixth Matador with 10 or more three-point field goals made. In addition to Josh Greene (57 3FGM), Vinnie McGhee (50 3FGM), and Aqeel Quinn (20 3FGM), Stephan Hicks and Ari Feldman made 15 and 10 baskets respectively from three.

A PERFECT 10

Successful in all four of his field goal attempts at CSU 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).

WELCOME BACK

Michael Lizarraga was granted a season of competition waiver by the NCAA and was eligible to play for the Matadors for the final 20 games of the 2011-12 season beginning 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 (including Michael Lizarraga who joined the team midway through the season) possess a combined 13 years of previous collegiate experience for an average of 0.68 years per player. Another Big West counterpart, UC Irvine, ranked No. 2 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. 

ALWAYS A HOME GAME

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 had the opportunity to see their team compete in five televised broadcasts, on four different networks throughout the 2011-12 season. 

Featured nationally by ESPN on Nov. 15, 2011, at Hawai'i, the Matadors also made two Fox Sports Prime Ticket appearances on Jan. 21, 2012, at Cal Poly, and Feb. 25 at UC Irvine. Northridge also made back-to-back television appearances on Feb. 4 and Feb. 9 on Fox Sports West at Long Beach State, and at UC Davis on Comcast SportsNet California.