Five Double-Digit Scorers Pace First Place Matadors to 100-61 Win Over Long Beach State
Northridge, Ca - The atmosphere at The Matadome had all the trademarks of a great collegiate scene; a sold out student section which wildly cheered the home team, Cal State Northridge; a live pep band that increased the emotional intensity of the day, and a television audience tuned to see the first place Matadors.
Combine those factors with the play of a focused, determined Matador basketball team, and it resulted in a decisive 100-61 victory for the Cal State Northridge men's basketball team over the defending Big West champion Long Beach State 49ers on Saturday afternoon.
A check of the record book indicated that the 39-point victory was the largest for CSUN in the 43-game series against Long Beach State; the second-largest win for the Matadors over a league opponent in the 46-year history of The Matadome; gave the Matadors their tenth double-digit victory of the 2007-08 season, and the 69th time in the 50-year history of Matador basketball that the team scored 100 points or more.
Five Matadors scored in double figures. CSUN hit .521 from the floor, out rebounded the 49ers, 42-29, collected 24 assists and 12 steals, and held the visitors to only a .367 shooting percentage.
Once again, Deon Tresvant came off the bench to tally a team-high 19 points, which included 5-of-8 three-pointers. Jayme Miller collected a career-high 18 points (7-for-9 from the floor) and added seven rebounds; Calvin Chitwood battled back from a recent high ankle sprain, to return to the starting lineup ahead of schedule with 14 points and seven rebounds. Jonathan Heard rebounded from a 0-for-10 shooting performance at Chicago State to score 13 points and collect six rebounds and four assists; and Tremaine Townsend added another solid effort with 12 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes of reserve play.
Coming off a highly disappointing 83-75 loss at Chicago State four days earlier, the Matadors practiced this week with a passion and a determination to be ready for the next opponent, league rival Long Beach State.
"We came back from Chicago State, watched film, and practiced hard." said Heard. "Coach Braswell told us not to worry about the Chicago State game. Tonight we were ready."
Neither team lit up the scoreboard in the first seven minutes of the game. The Matadors only led, 5-3, but an 8-0 run in the next three minutes gave the Matadors a ten-point lead. The 49ers cut the margin to six points, 22-16, with 8:45 remaining in the first half, but a 23-8 run by CSUN gave the home team a 21 point cushion, 45-24, with time running out in the first half.
The 21-point lead just kept growing in the second half. With 8:45 remaining, a Tresvant three-pointer gave the Matadors their largest lead of the game, 87-46 (41 points).
The only suspense remaining was whether Cal State Northridge could hit the century mark. They did so with 12 seconds remaining on a jumper by Rai Colston.
"It was a great outing for us," said Matador head coach Bobby Braswell. "Every game we challenge the team to a set of offensive and defensive goals. Tonight we reached every one of those goals. We held the opponent to under 40 percent shooting (.367). We had 48 deflections, and we out rebounded the 49ers (42-29). Those are all critical areas for us. If we are doing those things, we feel we have an excellent chance to win."
Chitwood, who had been expected to return to game action no earlier than Jan. 31 against UC Irvine after suffering a high ankle sprain against Pacific (1/12/08), has worked hard in rehab to return sooner than expected. Chitwood practice on Friday, and was ready to get back into action against the 49ers.
"I pushed myself as hard as I could to get back," said Chitwood. "I felt great playing today. I'm glad to be back and be a part of this great team."
For Miller, he gave his teammates credit for his individual success in scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds. "When everybody executes, it opens up the floor, and gives everybody many opportunities. Everybody took care of business tonight."
Braswell summed up what was a great and memorable night of basketball for Cal State Northridge. "This has been the healthiest we have been all year. Our depth really helped us tonight. We're blessed to go one or two players deep at every position. I think it helped tonight. It wore Long Beach State down a little bit."
Cal State Northridge returns home on Thursday (Jan. 31, 7:05 p.m.) to host UC Irvine followed by a Feb. 2 game (7:05 p.m.) against Cal State Fullerton.
"This has been one of the blessings about this group," said Braswell. "They are one of the most mature, coachable groups I have had since I have been here. They really listen. Sometimes they get really silly and goofy like young people do. We didn't play well at Chicago State, but one of our thoughts for the day was 'never let your successes go to your head, and never let your failures go to your heart.' I reminded them of that."
The Matadors were picked to finish sixth in the Big West in the pre-season polls. That prediction didn't sit well with Heard or his teammates.
"From the first day of practice, we knew we were going to be a great team," said Heard as he has helped the Matadors to a 14-4 overall mark and a first place standing in the Big West at 6-0.
Miller agrees with Heard's remarks. "We have all the same goals ... to win a championship. That's our biggest goal. That's what we are striving for."
Matador Minute ...
Josh Jenkins dished out eleven assists in 23 minutes of play, the fifth time this season Jenkins has collected ten or more assists in a game ... Thirteen points by senior all-conference candidate Jonathan Heard has given him 1,232 points for his four-year career to pass Cliff Higgins (1981-84, 1,221) into sixth place all-time at Cal State Northridge ... Heard also moved into a tenth place tie with Andre Chevalier (1990-94, 108) and Ryan Martin (1991-95, 108) in career games played ... The 6-0 conference start is a school record.