March 14, 2008

Cal State Northridge Battles Cal State Fullerton in Big West Semifinals

March 14, 2008


By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director, Media Relations

Anaheim, Calif. - They are two fierce rivals (Cal State Northridge & Cal State Fullerton), and they will face each other for a third time this season in the semifinals of the Big West Basketball Tournament on Friday (3/14/08, 8:00 p.m.) at the Anaheim Convention Center.

The game will be televised live on ESPNU.

By virtue of their first place finish in the conference, the Matadors (20-9) were seeded second and received byes in the first and second rounds of the Big West Tournament, and gained an automatic berth to the semifinals.

Cal State Fullerton also finished first in the Big West along with the Matadors and UC Santa Barbara (top seed), but the Titans were seeded third, thus CSF had to play a second round game to reach the semifinals.

On Thursday night (3/13/08), the Titans scored an 81-69 victory over UC Riverside, thus earning Cal State Fullerton a semifinal game date against the Matadors. Josh Akognon scored 20 points and Frank Robinson added 19 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Cal State Fullerton hit .518 (29-for-56) from the floor in posting the victory (22-8).

In the other quarterfinal game, UC Irvine (17-15) scored a 57-56 victory over Pacific (21-10). The Anteaters will face top-seed UC Santa Barbara (23-7) at 6:00 p.m.

The two winners will meet in the league championship game on Saturday night (3/15/08, 8:00 p.m.). The winner will earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Cal State Northridge and Cal State Fullerton split their two meetings this year.

In their first meeting (2/2/08) at The Matadome, Cal State Fullerton battled back from a 60-52 deficit to post a 80-72 victory. Scott Cutley (co-Big West Player of the Year) led the Titans with 19 points and eleven rebounds along with four steals and three assists in 34 minutes of play. Akognon added 17 points (10-for-10 from the free throw line) while Robinson added a double-double (14 points, ten rebounds). Jonathan Heard scored 13 points, grabbed eight rebounds, added three steals and two assists to lead the Matadors. Tremaine Townsend came off the bench to score 12 points and grab seven rebounds in 28 minutes.

The Titans out rebounded the Matadors, 51-43.

The second meeting (2/27/08) belonged to Cal State Northridge. Playing in a hostile environment at Titan Gym, the Matadors played one of its best games of the season in recording an 82-74 decision. Five Matador players recorded double-digit points led by Jonathan Heard with 19 points and ten rebounds, along with three assists and two steals in 30 minutes. The Matadors out rebounded the Titans, 48-36, led by Tremaine Townsend with a game-high 14 rebounds. Ray Reed scored 18 points while Frank Robinson added 17 points, ten rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Titans.

The Matador defense held Cal State Fullerton to only .371 (23-for-26) from the floor, and .136 (3-for-22) from behind the arc.

Series Story ... Cal State Fullerton leads the series with Cal State Northridge, 31-24 ... Until the Matadors 82-74 victory at CSF earlier this year, the Titans had won eight straight games over the Matadors ... In the 53-game series, only three times have Cal State Northridge and Cal State Fullerton met on a neutral court ... On Dec. 12, 1966, the Matadors recorded a 102-94 victory over the Titans at the Chapman Invitational ... Then on March 10, 2004, CSUN scored a 80-70 victory over Cal State Fullerton in the first round of the Big West Tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center ... In the last neutral court contest, the Titans scored a 73-63 victory on March 8, 2006, in the first round of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim.

Matador Minute ... Jonathan Heard will break the school record tonight when he competes in his 120th game for Cal State Northridge against Cal State Fullerton.

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