Cal State Northridge Basketball Team Pummels UC Davis, 82-47
Northridge, Calif. - In what was perhaps their finest display of offensive execution and a suffocating defense this season, the nationally-ranked Cal State Northridge men's basketball team breezed to a highly convincing 82-47 decision over UC Davis in a Big West game on Thursday night at The Matadome.
Not only was it the second largest margin of victory over the Aggies in the nine game series, but also the third largest margin of victory by the Matadors over a Big West opponent in the 46-year history of The Matadome.
After trailing 7-6 with 14:23 remaining in the first half, the Matadors proceeded to go full speed ahead with a defense that forced UC Davis into 25 turnovers and 33 per cent shooting. The Matadors produced a season-high 17 steals, which was also the ninth-best effort in school history.
The Matadors also outrebounded UC Davis, 35-28.
The CSUN offense also did its part, hitting .516 from the floor. Twenty-one assists helped lead to 35 CSUN baskets.
Senior all-conference candidate Calvin Chitwood scored 16 points along with seven rebounds. And once again, the script looked familiar as reserves Deon Tresvant (the Big West Player of the Week) came off the bench to produce what seemed like another routine game, 16 points (6-for-9 from the floor, 4-for-7 from three-point territory), dish out three assists and collect a season-high four steals for a second straight game. Junior center Tremaine Townsend, the league's top rebounder, solidified his league ranking with a game-high ten boards in a reserve role along with 14 points to give him a league-best fifth double-double.
Cal State Northridge led at halftime, 35-22, and expanded the lead to as many as 37 points, 79-42, with 1:46 remaining.
It didn't take long for Matador head coach Bobby Braswell to look at the stat sheet, and praise the Matadors for a job well done.
"We played unselfishly offensively, unselfishly defensively, and played extremely hard," said Braswell. "That's all you can ask for."
The Matadors, ranked 17th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll, raised their record to 11-3 overall and 3-0 in the Big West. This is the team's best start since the 1981-82 campaign when the Matadors were 12-2. The conference start is the best since Cal State Northridge became an NCAA Division I member in 1990-91, and the best start since the 1989-90 season when the team chalked up a 4-0 record to start the CCAA season.
"I told the team that last week's wins (at Cal Poly, at UCSB) were very special in what they accomplished, but that we could not return home and not play well," said Braswell. "The team has been attentive, and working on the things we need to do to get better. We reached all of our goals tonight. I'm extremely blessed to have a group of guys who continue to listen and continue to try to get better.
"Because of the number of new players we have, it takes a little while to learn our system and how we want to play. This team has done extremely well adjusting and listening. But what I am most pleased with is that they are very coachable. The players listen. They depend on our veteran players ... guys like Calvin Chitwood, Jonathan Heard and Jayme Miller who have done a great job of educating their teammates, and showing these guys the way."
The Matadors had been picked to finish sixth in the pre-season coaches and media polls, but Chitwood admitted that helped fuel the fire for what is transpiring into a championship season.
"We're a very humble team, but I think we wanted to show what we are made of," said Chitwood. "I know it hurt the team when we were picked to finish sixth in the league. But to come out and prove everybody wrong is the sweetest thing in the world."
The Matadors now will face one of its toughest league foes, the Pacific Tigers on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at The Matadome. The Tigers have dominated CSUN, winning eleven of the last 12 games to raise their series lead to 14-3. Pacific is tough. Following a 83-77 victory at Long Beach State, the Tigers are 11-4 overall and 2-0 in the conference.
Braswell reminded the Matadors to enjoy the win
over UC Davis for only a short time because Saturday's game looms as huge for Big West pride.
"I told the guys to enjoy this win (over UC Davis) until midnight when they go to bed, and start thinking about Pacific. Our goal is hold serve at home. Our next game is a big game for us and that's all we're focusing on."
Matador Minute ...
With eight points tonight against UC Davis, senior all-conference candidate Jonathan Heard has now scored 1,195 points in his four-year Matador career to move into seventh all-time at CSUN ahead of Jerry Joseph (1,191 points, 1967-70) ... Senior all-conference candidate Calvin Chitwood played 28 minutes against UC Davis to give him 2,426 minutes for his career and move into ninth place all-time at CSUN, just head of Trenton Cross (1996-98, 2,415 minutes) ... Chitwood also moved into the Matador Top 10 list for career field goals with 398, moving past Mark Cooley (1964-67, 394).