CSUN’s Remarkable Rally Falls Short in Overtime at UCD, 90-86

Box Score - CSUN @ UC Davis

By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director, Strategic Communications

Davis, Calif. –
Cal State Northridge almost staged one of the all-time great comebacks in the 56-year history of Matador basketball.

Drowning in a sea of mud with 9:51 to play, 65-47, CSUN found its defensive intensity and its offensive execution to stage a near miraculous comeback in a Big West Conference game at UC Davis on Thursday night.

Possession-by-possession, CSUN slowly sliced into the UC Davis lead. CSUN found itself down only 81-76 with 42 seconds on the clock. Tre Hale-Edmerson scored on a layup to pull the Matadors to within three points at 81-78.

Defensive pressure forced a UCD turnover. As the clock ticked away (22 seconds to be exact), Josh Greene connected on a three-pointer from NBA range to tie the score at 81-81.

A pro-crowd Aggie crowd that had seen the home team lead by as many as 21 points (46-25) late in the first half, grew silent as the Matadors staged a torrid comeback.

The only roar that was heard in the 6,000 seat UC Davis arena was the cheer of the CSUN team bench, and a handful of enthusiastic Matador fans.

Tied at 81-81 at the end of regulation, Stephen Maxwell's free throw gave CSUN its first lead of the game, 82-81, with 4:39 left in overtime. Clearly the momentum had shifted completely in favor of the Matadors.

But UC Davis would not fold. Ryan Sypkens hit two free throws with 3:23 on the overtime clock to give UC Davis an 83-82 lead. Corey Hawkins, who led UCD with 27 points, drove to the hoop for a layup that gave the Aggies an 85-82 advantage with 2:56 in overtime.

Back came Cal State Northridge thanks to Stephan Hicks who drove to the hoop to convert a layup of his own to narrow the UCD lead to one point, 85-84, with 1:41 remaining.

Again Corey Hawkins gave UCD a little added insurance with a free throw. With 1:41 remaining, UC Davis held a slim 86-84 advantage.

Back came Cal State Northridge thanks to a dunk by Hicks that tied the score, 86-86, with 25 seconds remaining in overtime.

With the shot clock rolling down to seven seconds, UCD's Georgi Funtarov, a 6-foot-8 forward, rattled home a long three-pointer to give the Aggies an 89-86 lead.

Cal State Northridge drove the length of the court but a Josh Greene three-point attempt missed its mark with three seconds remaining. UC Davis added two free throws in the final second.

Final Score in overtime … UC Davis 90, Cal State Northridge 86.

"We did a good job of digging out of a 17-point deficit, but it took a lot of energy to do that," said CSUN head coach Reggie Theus. "We just didn't have enough energy to finish the game out. This team has still not learned that in tough games down the stretch on the road, we have such a small window for errors. We made three bad decisions down the stretch that probably cost us the game."

CSUN's top three scorers during the season, Stephan Hicks, Stephen Maxwell and Josh Greene accounted for 73 percent (63 points) of the team's 86 points. Hicks collected 23 points (10-for-15 from the floor) along with seven rebounds. Maxwell added 21 points and five rebounds. Greene chipped in with 19 points (8-for-8 from the free throw line). All three players had to play extended minutes. Greene played 43 of a possible 45 minutes. Maxwell played 41 minutes. Hicks tallied 38 minutes.

Cal State Northridge missed its first seven shots before scoring its first basket at 15:33 remaining in the first half. CSUN shot only 28 percent in the first half.

UC Davis led at halftime, 49-32.

CSUN found its shooting touch in the second half. The Matadors hit 63 percent (15-for-24) while holding the Aggies to only 39 percent. The Matadors outscored the home team, 49-32.

Cal State Northridge falls to 11-13 overall, 3-6 in the Big West Conference. UC Davis is 8-15 overall, 3-5 in league completion.

The Matadors host Cal State Fullerton Saturday night at the Matadome. Tipoff is 7:00 pm.

Matador Memo …
Stephen Hicks' team-high 23 points gives him 1,244 career points to move the junior forward into eighth place all-time in the school record just past Cliff Higgins (1,221 points, 1981-84)Hicks' three free throws against UC Davis gives him 360 career charity tosses to move him into third place all-time at CSUN, just ahead of Jeff Parris (358, 1997-01) … Another block by Tre Hale-Edmerson has given the sophomore forward 41 this season, only three short of the school record held by Lenny Daniel (2009-10).