By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director (Media Relations)
Northridge, Calif. – This special night will be lodged in the memory of Matador basketball fans for a long, long time.
Those patrons who jammed into the old building, the Matadome, witnessed a basketball game that fueled the enthusiasm of both the fans and the CSUN basketball team.
It was CSUN's final game of the 2012-13 season, and the Matadors played with passion and toughness that resulted in a 88-75 victory over a huge, talented Hawai'i team that included a 7-foot-center, a 6-foot-10 center, and two 6-foot-8 frontline players.
"I challenged the guys before the game; let's finish the season strong," said Matador head coach Bobby Braswell. "I wanted the team to come out and fight and show the character they had in them. They did a great job of battling. We were undersized. We looked very small for a long period of the game. In the end, they showed the toughness to win."
Greene scored a career-high 37 points. It was the seventh-best scoring effort in the 55-year history of Matador basketball. Greene connected on 9-of-18 shots, including seven 3-pointers in 14 attempts along with 12 free throws in 14 attempts. Greene also chipped in with six assists in 37 minutes.
Greene's 37 points were the highest scoring effort by a CSUN player since Kenny Daniels tallied 39 points against Idaho on Dec. 3, 2009.
Maxwell added 24 points (14 in the second half) along with 13 rebounds in 35 minutes. Maxwell hit 8-of-12 shots from the floor.
"What can you say about Josh and Stephen?" said Braswell. "Josh couldn't have played any better than he did tonight. He played with a lot of heart. Every shot he took were shots that we needed. We needed a go-to-guy and Josh stepped up tonight and hit some big shots. We got Maxwell the ball around the blocks. It seemed like he dunked every point he scored. He wasn't going to take any chances. It was really good to see both the guys step up tonight."
Cal State Northridge trailed the Warriors at halftime, but outscored Hawai'i in the final 20 minutes, 49-32.
"Our defense really picked up the second half," said Braswell. "We didn't have issues scoring, but Hawai'i was getting second and third shots (in the first half). In the second half, I thought Maxwell was grabbing every rebound. Then our guards started helping out with the big guys. Then we went to a zone (defense) and that really helped us. Hawai'I was not able to run their sets and do what they wanted to do."
Hawai'i led throughout much of the second half, but with 7:09 on the clock, Allan Guei hit two free throws to push the Matadors in front for good, 68-66.
With 3:12 to play, CSUN held a 75-71 lead. Ten straight points by the Matadors pushed the lead to 85-71 with 1:03 remaining. Greene scored eight of those ten points on five free throws and a three-pointer.
A Vander Joaquim basket cut the CSUN lead to 12 points, 85-73, with 50 seconds remaining, but Greene again sliced through the defense to connect on another three-pointer to give CSUN its biggest lead of the game, 88-73.
Final Score – Cal State Northridge 88, Hawai'i 75.
Christian Standhardinger led Hawai'i with 26 points. Vander Joaquim added 16 points and a game-high 19 rebounds.
After the game, Braswell exchanged greetings with the fans who witnessed a great game.
"I am extremely proud of the team," beamed Braswell. "They could have quit last week, but they showed up this week and had two great days of practice. I told them how proud I was with their hard work in practice. The future is extremely bright. We have to get in the weight room to get bigger and stronger. That is clearly an issue."
There were NO seniors on this year's Matador team. Everybody returns next year which bodes well for the future, according to Braswell.
"These guys have competed and played hard all year long," said Braswell. "We have been on the short end of some games during the conference. But I can't stress enough about being young and not being through the league before, and how you have to be ready and prepared. Now they have that experience under their belt. They have a pretty good taste after this game tonight. I didn't want to go into the off-season with a loss, and not feeling they were not good enough to compete in this league. But they showed they can compete against a very good, very big Hawaii team."