Feb. 21, 2009
By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director (Media Relations)
Moscow, Idaho - Down by double-digits four times in the second half, a basketball team can quickly cash in their remaining chips and head for the exit.
Not Cal State Northridge. The Matadors battled back from a 53-42 deficit with 12:40 to play, 63-52 with 7:25 remaining, 66-55 with 6:25 on the clock, and 69-58 with 4:15 left, to pull within one point (76-75) with 17 seconds remaining before eventually falling, 78-75, to the University of Idaho in a non-league ESPN Bracketbuster game on Saturday night at the Cowan Spectrum.
"The fact that we fought back, never gave up and actually had a chance to tie the game at the end says something about the team's character," said Matador head coach Bobby Braswell. "I'm really pleased with that. I don't ever like losing but I thought our guys gave a good effort tonight."
The shooting of Kenny Daniels (career-high 19 points), Rob Haynes (13 points) and Vincent Cordell (career-high 11 points) plus the all-around great play of point-guard Mark Hill (season-high 13 points, career-high seven steals, five assists) helped contribute to CSUN's courageous comeback in the second half.
Cordell helped fuel a Matador comeback with the team down, 53-42, when the junior forward hit a couple three-pointers while Hill added three free throws to cut the Vandal lead to three points, 55-52, with 8:54 remaining.
When the Idaho lead jumped back to eleven points at 69-58, back came the pesky Matadors as Haynes helped contribute seven points, and reserve guard Matthew Wallace hit a deep three-pointer with 17 seconds remaining to play to cut the Idaho lead to one point, 76-75.
Two free throws by Idaho's Luciano de Souza upped the home lead to 78-75 with 15 seconds left. However, a three-point Matador attempt with three seconds left went off the mark, and the Vandals escaped with the win.
The Matadors hit 18-of-20 free throw attempts to help keep themselves in the game, but the CSUN defense couldn't stop Idaho offensively. The Vandals hit .684 (26-for-38) from the field for the game, including .765 (13-for-17) in the second half.
Braswell said you aren't going to win any games if your defense is not on its game.
"Defensively we fell," said Braswell. "From a technical standpoint, there are things we need to fix. You are not going to win a road game when the home team shoots 68 percent."
The loss dropped CSUN's season record to 12-12 while Idaho evened its record at 13-13.
The Matadors return home to The Matadome next Wednesday (2/25/09) for a Big West Conference game against UC Santa Barbara. Tipoff is 7:00 p.m.
Tremaine Townsend led both teams in rebounding with ten ... Mark Hill's seven steals were the most by a Matador player in a game in six years ... Rob Haynes hit three 3-pointers to give him 22 straight games with at least one basket from behind the arc ... The University of Idaho was once a member of the Big West Conference (1996-2005).
Matador Miles - Road Trip to Idaho
By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director (Media Relations)
Moscow, Idaho - Who ever said traveling was easy?
The members of this year's Matador basketball team ought to be Geography majors with all the travel they have experienced this year.
The six-game road trip to start the year encompassed more than 4,000 miles, and now the team's latest adventure took the Matadors from Northridge to Moscow, Idaho, where the Matadors played the University of Idaho Saturday night.
This long excursion to the western part of Idaho started at 6 a.m. on Friday, February 20, when the team, a bit sleepy and still recovering from Wednesday night's game at UC Irvine, quietly boards a bus that transports them to the Burbank Airport. An early morning flight took the team to Oakland then a two-hour connecting flight to Spokane.
After arriving in snowy Spokane around noon, the team still had to endure a two-hour bus ride on Highway 195 south to Moscow, home of the University of Idaho.
Basketball players are always hungry, and it's the lunch hour. Luckily just off Highway 195 near downtown Spokane is "restaurant row" that offers the team a multitude of opportunity of places to eat. Let the feast begin!!!
Back on the bus, it's a peaceful, picturesque ride through the snowy, rolling countryside of eastern Washington that passes through such small farm towns such as Rosalia, Steptoe, Colfax and Pullman (home of Washington State University). Moscow, Idaho, is only seven miles from Pullman, Washington.
The team finally reaches its hotel in Moscow, and it quickly exits the bus through the front door of the hotel. Why? It's cold outside. It's mid-afternoon, the skies are cloudy and the temperature is only in the mid-30's. A quick run or a brisk walk to get some exercise can wait another day.
The day is still far from over. The coaching staff has quickly churned out a detailed scouting report on its next opponent, the Idaho Vandals, and practice is set for Friday night at the Cowan Spectrum, otherwise known as the Kibbie Dome. The dome is actually an indoor football stadium that is also used for indoor track, and a basketball court that is surrounded by portable bleachers.
Yes!!! Practice is over. A day that started at 6 a.m. will now end with a hearty dinner at the hotel. This team is again hungry. Let the feast begin. The travel has been exhausting, and the practice intense. Time to relax, enjoy dinner and enjoy the rest of the evening on a Friday in Idaho.
As the bus embarks for the short ride back to the hotel, a bunch of Idaho students are playing Frisbee football outdoors. Are these people crazy??? The temperature has dipped into the high 20's, and these kids are dressed in t-shirts and shorts tossing the Frisbee around a cold field like it's the Super Bowl. Some kids even wave to the team bus as it drives by. Hey kids, get a life!!!
Moscow, Idaho (population 22,000), is cradled between the Moscow Mountains and the rolling hills of the Palouse. This part of the country offers four distinct seasons.
This is definitely an agricultural area of the country. Yes, they grow potatoes in Idaho, but did you know that Palouse farmers produce approximately 600 million pounds of dry peas and lentils annually? Yeah, really!!! True story!!!
Looking to buy a new home in the Moscow-Pullman area? $300,000 can get you a new, 3,200 square foot, four-bedroom home with plenty of surrounding land.
The team shoot-around at Cowan Spectrum on Saturday morning is a bit interesting. While the team is going through its last minute preparations for the game on Saturday night, there is an indoor track & field meet going on at the same time featuring more than 300 athletes.
The weather in Moscow on this Saturday is actually very nice. It's sunny with the temperatures in the low 50's. It's a great opportunity for a short walk, a trip to the mall across the street, or just relax in the hotel studying the game plan against a very good Idaho team.
The team, unfortunately, loses a tough 78-75 game against Idaho.
Sunday morning (6:45 a.m.), the Matadors will board the bus for the two-hour trip back to Spokane, and then a flight from Oakland to Burbank, and then home by bus to Cal State Northridge.
Homeward bound ... Home Cooking ... Home Sweet Home!!!