Stephen F. Austin’s Late Rally Defeats Cal State Northridge, 74-67
Box Score - CSUN @ Stephen F. Austin University
By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletics Director, Strategic Communications
Nacogdoches, Texas – This game hurt like a bad case of the flu that keeps gnawing at your gut.
Cal State Northridge accepted the challenge of a very good Stephen F. Austin basketball that had chalked up a 10-2 record and had won 23 consecutive games on their home court, currently the second longest streak in NCAA Division I basketball.
The Matadors jumped to an 8-0 lead and then withstood a Lumberjack rally that gave the home team a three-point lead at 22-19. CSUN stormed back with a rally that gave the Matadors a healthy 37-29 lead at halftime.
Cal State Northridge maintained its lead until SFAU took a 52-51 lead with 8:33 to play. The Matadors refused to fold. Two three-pointers by Josh Greene gave the Matadors a 60-54 lead with 5:57 on the clock.
Back came the Lumberjacks, who tied the game at 64-64 at the 2:48 mark.
This time, CSUN could not regain the lead. CSUN is a team that leads the Big West Conference in free throw percentage. But CSUN couldn't convert in the final minutes. The Matadors missed three crucial free throws in four attempts, and Stephen F. Austin's Desmond Haymond scored nine of his game-high 36 points (30 points in the second half) in the final three minutes to help propel the Lumberjacks to a 74-67 come-from-behind victory over the Matadors on Monday night at the William R. Johnson Coliseum.
Cal State Northridge led 31 of the game's 40 minutes.
"We did a lot of good things in the game," said Theus. "I just don't like getting beat when the other team is tougher. We knew this was going to be a tough game. We played a good team that had won 23 straight games at home. For 30 minutes, we outplayed them. We will learn from this. We will take our lumps and move on."
Foul trouble plagued Cal State Northridge throughout the game. Two early fouls kept Stephen Maxwell on the bench for 15 of the game's first 20 minutes. Maxwell ended the game with a season-low six points. Stephan Hicks picked up his fourth foul with 17:30 remaining in the game and eventually fouled out with 13 points, five under his average. Josh Greene played with four fouls. The senior guard scored eleven points.
Landon Drew, Aaron Parks and Trevone Williams picked up the scoring slack for Cal State Northridge. They played well. Drew scored a season-high 13 points (5-for-7 from the floor, 3-for-4 from the charity stripe) while Parks added eight points (6-for-8 from the free throw line). Williams added seven points and three rebounds.
"Our guys have been playing well off the bench all year," said Theus. "But when you only have nine (scholarship) players, your rotation is short. When we get into foul trouble, we get hurt."
Cal State Northridge fell to 8-6. Stephen F. Austin is 11-2.
"In the last eight minutes of the game, I thought Stephen F. Austin was tougher than us," said Theus. "We couldn't handle their pressure. We played on our heels. When you do that, your offense gets stagnant. In the first half, we were able to drive right by them (SFAU). In the second half, we allowed them to get offensive rebounds and turned the ball over."
The Matadors continue their road with a Jan. 2 game at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.
Matador Memo …
Josh Greene set a school record for career three-pointers against Stephen F. Austin … Greene tied the school mark originally set by Ian Boylan (2001-05) with 182 at the 6:36 mark of the second half … Greene then set the new school record at 5:57 which now gives him 183 …