By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director (Media Relations)
Northridge, Calif. – There were so many positive story lines in CSUN's decisive victory over Vanguard University on Wednesday night at The Matadome, 120-69.
Each one deserves to be the lead paragraph.
The Matador record book underwent a major overhaul in seven statistical categories, but the bottom line is that basketball is a TEAM game. The Matadors, despite being the youngest NCAA Division I team in the nation, have shown an extraordinary amount of maturity, integrity and character that is making people turn their heads. Matador fans are giving the team a positive "thumbs up."
Matador head coach Bobby Braswell again voiced his praise of Matador Basketball in 2012-13.
"I think the chemistry is great," beamed Braswell. "I am extremely blessed to have a group of guys who have jelled together as a team. They really do like each other, on-and-off the floor. One of the things that I started to do some games ago was to put together some goals and challenges. Tonight's challenge was 'this is about us.' This is not about the team we are playing or the name on the opponent's jersey. It's about Northridge playing Northridge basketball."
The challenges worked from start-to-finish against an outmanned Vanguard squad. In the first half, Cal State Northridge hit 70 percent (21-for-30) from the floor, connected on 3-of-6 three-point attempts, and hit 13-of-16 free throw attempts for 81 percent.
However, the 58-37 Matador halftime lead was not good enough.
"At halftime, I challenged the guys to not letup in the second half," said Braswell. "I challenged them to have a killers instinct about how you finish a game. And in each of those cases, they did exactly that with a maturity level that is different. It's a credit to these guys."
Cal State Northridge outscored Vanguard, 62-32, in the second half. The Matadors shot .649 (24-for-37) from the floor, and made 7-of-11 shots from behind the arc.
For the game, CSUN hit .672 (45-for-67) from the floor, 10-of-16 (.625) from behind the arc, and 20-for-25 from the free throw line. Cal State Northridge outrebounded Vanguard, 49-25, dished out 32 assists, collected 12 steals and blocked seven shots.
"It was good to see our guys come out tonight and shoot the ball the way we did," said Braswell. "We knew they (Vanguard) would come out and play a lot of zone the way UCLA did. But the impressive stat is that we dished out 32 assists on 45 made baskets. That means we were unselfish in moving the basketball. We didn't settle for quick shots. I challenged them before the game to make sure we were the attackers, and to continue to play our game and go to the free throw line."
The 17-man Northridge roster has NO seniors, and only three juniors.
"They are coachable," said Braswell. "Despite their youth, they have leaders in Josh Greene, Stephan Hicks and Stephen Maxwell who have been through the wars. All of them are pretty quiet guys but they are our hardest workers. They are great role models with their work ethic everyday in practice, and then how they go out and play on the court."
The Matadors set a wrecking ball to the school record book.
Josh Greene broke a longtime school record. Greene hit two straight free throws in the first half to give him 33 straight over a seven game span, breaking the old mark of 32 set by Markus Carr during the 2000-01 season.
"I was happy for Josh tonight," said Braswell. "He did finally miss a free throw but I was happy he was able to get through this streak. Josh is a guy who really works hard on his game. He gets to the gym early and stays late. He is always working on his free throws. He is really playing good basketball."
Other Matador record book notes included …
* The 51-point margin of victory was the seventh-largest in school history.
* The 120-points scored by CSUN was the third-most in school history.
* The .672 shooting percentage (45-for-67) was fifth-best for a single game in the 55-year history of Matador basketball.
* The 45 field goals scored were ninth-best for a single game in school history.
* The 32 assists were third-best for a single game in Matador history.
* The seven blocks against Vanguard were ninth-best in school history.
Matador Memo …
Stephan Hicks scored 23 points and grabbed eleven rebounds to lead Cal State Northridge in scoring … That gives Hicks eight double-doubles dating back to his freshman season last year … Five other Matador players scored ten or more points … Stephen Maxwell added 16 points while Josh Greene scored 15 points, Landon Drew chipped in 12 points, and Tre Hale-Edmerson and Trevone Williams each scored ten points … Cal State Northridge raised its season record to 7-2 … Vanguard fell to 6-5 … The Matadors now travel to Arizona State on Saturday, December 8, to face the Sun Devils at Noon (mt) in the second game against a Pac-12 team this year … ASU is enjoying an excellent season with a 7-1 record … The Cal State Northridge vs Arizona State game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.