By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director (Media Relations)
Northridge, Calif. – Dylan Royer is a name that most of the country may not recognize. But teams in the West (Just ask Cal State Northridge and UCLA) certainly know and respect the senior guard from Los Osos, Calif.
Early this season, Royer hit six three-pointers to lead Cal Poly to a 70-68 victory at UCLA. His shooting talents arrived at the Matadome on Thursday night in a Big West Conference game. From the opening tipoff, Royer was in "the zone", according to CSUN head coach Bobby Braswell. Royer hit his first three shots (all three pointers) to give the Mustangs a 9-4 lead. That fueled the visitors to lead the entire game in an 81-61 victory over Cal State Northridge.
"Cal Poly ran Royer off a lot of screens, double screens and sometimes some triple screens," said Braswell. "That is a hard assignment to guard a guy like that. We didn't give our defender enough support to guard Royer off the double screens. Royer was in a zone."
Royer eventually scored a game-high 23 points, thanks to 7-of-8 shooting from behind-the-arc.
Royer's 8-of-12 shooting effort helped the Mustangs to a 58 percent shooting night.
Chris Eversley, a 6-foot-7, 225-pound junior forward, patrolled the inside for Cal Poly with 23 points and eight rebounds. Eversley matched Royer's shooting talents from the floor, hitting 8-of-12 shots.
Cal State Northridge outrebounded Cal Poly, 35-to-23, but Braswell gave credit to Cal Poly's physicality and veteran savvy.
"They were a lot bigger and stronger than we were tonight," said Braswell. "We certainly looked like a young team compared to them. Give them credit. The punched us and really played physical. It seemed like every time we made a run at them (Cal Poly), Royer hit a big three (3-pointer). They are a tough team with veteran guys."
During the off-season, Braswell admitted CSUN will hit the weight room to simply get bigger and stronger.
"We didn't give them a lot of resistance," said Braswell. "Teams are being physical with us. Our young guys have to learn to be physical back. We were not able to get clean looks (at the basket) because of the way Cal Poly's defense jammed us. There was a lesson to be learned tonight. We need to get in the weight room to get bigger and stronger in the off-season."
Cal State Northridge was playing without one of its big, inside players. Brandon Perry (6-7, 275, Freshman) sat out the game after suffering a knee injury last weekend at Southern Utah. Freshman post player Tre Hale-Edmerson picked up the rebounding pace with a career-high eleven rebounds. Stephan Hicks added nine caroms while Stephen Maxwell added six rebounds.
Josh Greene led CSUN with 19 points. Hicks added 16 points.
Now the attention focuses to Saturday's big game against UC Santa Barbara; a contest set to begin at 7:05 pm at the Matadome. Both teams are fighting for the final berth in the upcoming Big West Tournament (March 14-16) at the Honda Center.
"It is going to be very important to rebound (from this game vs Cal Poly) very quickly," said Braswell. "It is a very big game for us. UCSB and Northridge are fighting hard to get into the Big West Tournament. This is a game we need to take care of. I know UCSB is going to come in here and scratch and claw. We need to get over this game (vs Cal Poly). We have one day to prepare."
UCSB lost a 70-66 decision at Hawai'i on Thursday night. The Gauchos reside in eighth place in the Big West Conference at 4-11, one-half game in front of Cal State Northridge at 4-12.