Dec. 8, 2009
DENVER, Colo. - Tough defense has always been the benchmark for Cal State Northridge basketball but the Denver Pioneers shot nearly 60% from the floor on the way to an 89-82 non-conference win over the Matadors Tuesday night at Magness Arena.
Northridge (4-5), which is last in the Big West in scoring defense, surrendered 89 points to a Denver team which came in averaging just over 68 points per game. The Pioneers converted 26-of-44 shots and were a blistering 10-for-19 from three-point land.
A quartet of Matadors attempted the lead Northridge back as senior Willie Galick scored a game-high 20 points to go with nine rebounds. Junior Lenny Daniel had his second double-double of the season with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds while Mark Hill chipped in a season-high 12 points (10 in the second half), hitting three treys. Redshirt-sophomore Vinnie McGhee rounded out Northridge's double figure scoring with 11.
Denver's Justin Coughlin scored the first basket of the game and the Matadors would never gain the lead. Galick's tip-in off a Therin Taylor miss pulled Northridge within 5-4 but the Matadors fought a double-digit deficit for much of the final stages of the first half.
A pair of Aaron Henson free throws temporarily pulled Northridge within eight at 43-35 with 33 seconds left in the half before the Pioneers' Rob Lewis' put-back gave Denver a 10-point cushion (45-35) at halftime.
The Matadors slowly whittled the Denver down over the first five minutes of the second half. After going down by as many as 15 (55-40), Northridge put together a 12-2 run to pull within 57-52 following Hill's second straight three-pointer. But a pair of Brian Stafford free throws capped a 7-2 Denver run as the Pioneers built the lead back to 10 with 11:38 left.
The Pioneer lead was 11 (73-62) with 7:35 left when McGhee's three-pointer capped a 10-2 Matador run and Northridge trailed 75-72 with 4:25 remaining. Northridge also trailed by two at 77-75 and 78-76 but would get no closer down the stretch.
The Matadors trailed 85-80 when Hill missed the second of two free throws and Daniel had two chances at a tip-in before Andrew Hooper grabbed the rebound. Daniel though he was fouled on his put-back and was given the Matadors second technical of the game and the Pioneers salted the game away from the free throw line.
Nate Rohnert led five Denver scorers in double figures with 17 points. Chase Hallam added 16 points while Hooper had 12and Stafford and Lewis each had 11.
Cal State Northridge is off from game action until Dec. 18 when the Matadors host Drexel in The Matadome at 7:05 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -