Box Score - CSUN vs Hawai'i
By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletics Director, Strategic Communications
Anaheim, Ca. – Cal State Northridge has played a school record seven overtime games this season.
The overtime scenario happened again on Thursday night during the Big West Conference Tournament Quarterfinals at Honda Center against the University of Hawai'i.
"I told the guys 'this is our game.'" Matador head coach Reggie Theus said referring to the team's overtime experiences that eventually led to a dramatic 87-84 overtime victory over the Rainbow Warriors. "This is the kind of game we play. That is what we do. We grind it out."
Stephen Maxwell's jumper with 12 seconds remaining in the extra frame gave CSUN a 85-84 lead. Tre Hale-Edmerson added two free throws with seven seconds to play to give the Matadors the come-from-behind victory. CSUN now heads to Friday night's conference tournament semifinals against Long Beach State. Game time is 9:00 pm.
Maxwell, previous to his winning basket, had only scored seven points in 40 minutes on 2-for-9 shooting. But Theus knows Maxwell has consistently performed like a champion the entire season.
It was Maxwell's turn to churn out the winning points.
"Stephen (Maxwell) is a first team all-conference player," said Theus. "He got the shot we were looking for. You have to have confidence in your main guys. I have confidence in my players."
Josh Greene, Stephan Hicks and Maxwell have provided the major scoring load for CSUN this year. Greene scored 27 points (9-for-9 from the free throw line) while Hicks added 21 points (9-for-12 from the field).
"It's my last year, and I am just trying to win to extend my senior year as long as possible," said Greene. "We kept playing and grinding it out."
A 60 percent shooting effort in the first half helped the Matadors build a 16-point lead twice. But a 15-5 Hawai'i rally in the final minutes cut the CSUN halftime margin to 42-36.
The Rainbow Warriors took the lead, 49-46, with 14:52 left in the game. The UH lead zoomed to 13 points, 67-54, with only 6:30 remaining.
Dead in the water? Not a chance for Cal State Northridge.
"This team never gives up," said Theus. "We have that type of mentality. As long as we have enough possessions in a game, we are never out of the game. We go through stretches, but we have a mentality that if the game is close, we can win."
Possession-by-possession, Cal State Northridge sliced away at UH's lead. A 17-7 Matador rally cut the Hawai'i lead to 74-71 with only 22 seconds remaining.
It was Josh Greene's turn to showcase his talents from behind the arc. Greene stuck a three-pointer through the nets to tie the game, 74-74.
Overtime again said hello.
"I just didn't want to lose," said Greene. "We were down. I knew this could be my last five minutes of my college career. So we kept grinding it out and working hard."
Cal State Northridge has now won five overtime games in seven tries in 2013-14.
"This was a great basketball game," said Theus. "It was very entertaining. It was fought hard on both sides. There were momentum changes and tough defense. But our guys stuck to our game plan. They did a great job."
Dramatic victories like Thursday's decision over a very good Hawai'i team have added to the positive changing environment at Cal State Northridge.
"This was a huge win for our program," said Theus. "We have the tools to work with, but we have to do it collectively. We are on track to build this program the way it should be built, and that is through hard work and effort."
Cal State Northridge raised its record to 16-17. Hawai'i ended its season 20-11.
Matador Memo …
Cal State Northridge has again taken over the nation's lead in free throws made … With 23 free throws against Hawaii, the Matadors have made a school record 719 charity tosses … Brigham Young has 707 to rank second nationally … Josh Greene continues to have an amazing year from the free throw line … With a 9-for-9 effort against the Rainbow Warriors, Greene now is shooting .924 (158-for-171), tops in the Big West Conference and well ahead of the school record of .869 set by Chuck Malouf in 1963-64 … CSUN is now 3-0 in neutral court games, and 6-0 over the last two seasons ... Friday's semifinal game between Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State will be televised live on both ESPNU and ESPN3.