By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director, Strategic Communications
Northridge, Calif. – Cal State Northridge set a school record with a .970 shooting percentage from the free throw line as the Matadors opened the 2013-14 season with a hard-earned 86-74 victory over Hope International on Friday night at the Matadome.
The Matadors hit 32-of-33 free throws to erase the old school record of .944 (17-for-18) set at Cal State Dominguez Hills on January 28, 1989. Stephen Maxwell hit 11-of-11 free throws and Josh Greene connected on 8-of-8 free throws to help CSUN to the free throw record.
"The player who missed the free throw will have to run tomorrow," joked Matador first-year head coach Reggie Theus. "We kept driving to the basket."
Maxwell became the 16th player in school history to have a perfect percentage from the free throw line (11-for-11) in a game.
"We kept attacking the basket," said Maxwell. "That created contact and we were able to get to the free throw line."
Greene also made history for Cal State Northridge on Friday night. Greene hit two free throws at the 13:42 mark of the second half to give him 1,000 points in his four-year career at Cal State Northridge. Greene thus becomes the 16th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Greene's 16 points for the game gave him 1,006 career points to pass Ollie Carter (1,003 points, 1964-66) into 15th place on the career scoring list at Cal State Northridge.
In addition to his 16 points, Greene dished out five assists with no turnovers.
"The game plan was to attack, attack, attack," said Greene, the senior guard. "You read the defense and take what they give you. You always want to try to get the ball to your teammates."
Hope International, located in Fullerton, Ca., held a brief 16-14 lead with 9:59 on the first half clock. But two straight baskets by Stephen Maxwell put the Matadors ahead 18-16. CSUN never lost the lead the remainder of the game.
With 4:47 remaining in the first half, CSUN went on a 16-2 run to take its biggest lead of the first half (17 points), a 44-27 lead with six seconds on the clock. The 16-2 Matador run included 12 straight points.
"We were rebounding well," said Theus. "Once we got those rebounds and pushed the ball up the court, we proved we are a good team. Our offensive execution was solid in the first half. That is why we enjoyed the big lead."
The Matador lead ballooned to as many as 19 points, 62-43, at the 10:25 mark of the second half. The Royals inched to within six points (71-65) with 5:08 remaining in the game but could get no closer.
Final Score – Cal State Northridge 86, Hope International 74.
Stephen Maxwell collected his 15th double-double in his Matador career with a game-high 23 points along with 12 rebounds. Stephan Hicks added 20 points and nine rebounds.
"We went to Maxwell early in the game," Theus told reporters. "When we saw that we had the advantage, we continued to go to him. When Maxwell gets the ball, he knows where to go. He is not afraid of contact. If you're a half-step behind him, he will go to the basket and also creates contact. He delivered."
The Matadors (1-0) will now prepare for a Tuesday (11/12/13) game at USC. Game time is 8:00 p.m. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
Matador Memo …
The 32 CSUN free throws is eighth-best for a single season in school history … Tre Hale-Edmerson collected a career-high five steals … CSUN had 12 steals in the game.