Cal State Northridge Suffers Crushing 78-73 Overtime Decision at Pacific
Stockton, Ca - This game will linger like a bad case of the flu or a painful dog bite. Here's the scenario that cut to the heart of a tough loss for the Cal State Northridge men's basketball team on Thursday night at Pacific.
Leading Pacific, 69-67, with 1.5 seconds on the clock and the Tigers having to go the length of the court to score, it looked good for the Matadors to score their first ever victory over Pacific in Stockton.
However, the Tigers pulled a near miracle. A length of the court pass by the Tigers was tipped away by two Matador defenders into the arms of Pacific's Michael Kirby, who had not scored a basket the entire game. What happened next defies imagination. Kirby took the ball and fired a 15-foot jump shot from the side of the key to tie the game at 69-69 as regulation time expired.
Pacific would then outscore the Matadors, 9-4, in overtime to record an improbable come-from-behind 78-73 over Cal State Northridge.
The crushing loss was tough to take in a somber locker room.
"We gave it away," said Matador head coach Bobby Braswell, who has been on both sides of the fence in games that are decided on the last play of the game. "It's a tough loss. We could have really put some distance between ourselves and everybody else (in the league)."
It was remarkable that Cal State Northridge even got back into the game after Pacific dominated play in the first 20 minutes of the game. The Matadors defense could not contain Pacific's Chad Troyer, who scored 22 of his 30 points in the first half. A 22-8 run midway through the first half gave the Tigers a 38-24 lead. Fortunately, the Matadors didn't fold as Deon Tresvant and Rob Haynes hit late three-pointers to cut the Pacific lead to 46-38 at halftime.
Braswell called the team's second half effort valiant as the Matadors defense took charge. An eleven-point Pacific lead, 51-40 with 17:20 remaining, was cut to one point, 53-52, at 12:03. From then on, the lead went back and forth.
Then with 3:50 remaining, a Jonathan Heard lay up gave CSUN a 66-62 lead. However, Pacific came back with four straight points with 2:35 left.
A Josh Jenkins lay up with 62 seconds left gave CSUN a 69-67 lead. However, Kirby's last second shot tied the game at 69-69, and into overtime the game went.
"It was a great effort in the second half," said Braswell. "I told the team at halftime that Pacific gave us their best shot ... they can't play any better. We needed to take some personal pride in our defense, and our kids really responded. I'm very proud of that effort."
Despite the loss, as Braswell told the team after the game, the Matadors are still in first place at 7-2 along with Pacific. Cal State Northridge is 15-6 overall while Pacific is 16-6.
"There is still a lot of basketball to play," said Braswell. "We're still in good shape. It's just a matter of bouncing back on Saturday with a great effort against UC Davis which will be a tough game."
Matador Moment ...
Paul Wayne did not accompany the team to Pacific following the death of a family member in Washington, D.C. ... Eleven points by Jonathan Heard against Pacific gives him 1,266 points for his career and into fifth place all-time at Cal State Northridge, just ahead of Jeff Parris (1997-01, 1,261 points) ... Seven free throw attempts now gives Heard 469 for his career which moves him into fourth place all-time at CSUN, ahead of Brian Heinle (1997-01, 465) and Todd Bowser (1986-89, 1990-91, 463) ... Josh Jenkins produced eight assists which gives him 141 for the season, fourth-best for a single season at CSUN ... Deon Tresvant collected four 3-pointers against UOP and now has 64 for the season, third-best for a single season at CSUN ... Because of homecoming commitments at UC Irvine, the Cal State Northridge men's basketball game at UCI on Mar. 1 has now again been changed from 1:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Bren Center ... The game will still be televised on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.