Cal State Northridge Men's Basketball Team Wins 73-65 Victory at Utah Valley State
Orem, Utah - Cal State Northridge men's basketball head coach Bobby Braswell needed help from his bench and that's exactly what the doctor ordered as the Matadors stormed back from a nine-point deficit in the first half to post a 73-65 victory at Utah Valley State on Friday night.
The Matadors fell behind 11-2 with 13:19 in the first half over a Wolverine team they had beaten 76-64 earlier this year.
Therin Taylor and Tony Osunsanmi, two reserves who had played little this year, provided an intensity that kept CSUN within reach in the first half. Taylor played four minutes in the first half and responded with five points (5-for-6 from the free throw line) while Osunsanmi played five first-half minutes and collected three rebounds and two points.
Tremaine Townsend also came off the bench early in the first half and garnered four rebounds and two blocked shots in the first half.
Taylor, Osunsanmi and Townsend helped cut the Utah State Valley lead to as little as two points with 68 seconds remaining in the first half. A late basket gave the Wolverines a 28-24 halftime lead.
Clearly, Braswell was not pleased with the team's first half performance. The Matadors only hit 7-of-28 shots (25 percent) from the floor, 0-for-8 from behind the arc, and turned the ball over 12 times compared to two assists.
"In the first half, we didn't resemble anything like Northridge basketball," said Braswell. "We were selfish on the offensive end. Defensively, we didn't have any intensity. We were just not in a very good rhythm. We challenged the team at halftime. We demanded certain things. In the second half, we stepped up and played. I told the reserves at shoot around this morning to be ready (to play). I just thought we had put our guard down a little bit. We had already beaten this team (UVSC) earlier this year, and I thought we took them for granted ... that this would easy. I knew I would have to make some coaching moves to get the guys' attention."
The second half was a different story. Although Utah Valley State held as much as a seven point lead, 39-32 (16:15 remaining), an improved defense and some timely baskets whittled the Wolverine lead down. A layup by reserve guard Paul Wayne gave CSUN a 46-45 lead with 11:25 to play. That was the Matadors first lead since 19:09 of the first half.
Another reserve, Deon Tresvant, made his first three-pointer of the game at 10:49 to give CSUN a 49-45 lead.
Five straight points by Utah Valley State gave the home team a 50-49 lead with 9:26 to play.
However, senior center Jayme Miller proved to be a valuable player down the stretch for Cal State Northridge. A Miller tip-in with 3:36 left tied the game at 60-60. Two free throws by Tresvant and another tip-in by Miller gave CSUN a 64-60 lead with 2:43 remaining.
A Utah Valley State basket at 2:22 made it 64-62, but Miller answered with a short jumper at 1:56 to jump the Matador lead back to four points, 66-62.
Utah Valley State managed to cut the lead to one point, 66-65, with 58 seconds remaining, but a three-pointer by Rob Haynes, two free throws by Tresvant and another free throw by Jonathan Heard gave CSUN a 71-65 lead with 21 seconds left.
Jenkins iced the game with a breakaway lay up with five seconds to play to give the Matadors a 73-65 decision.
Miller tallied a season-high 12 points along with five rebounds in 16 minutes of play. "Jayme is playing like a senior who really wants to go out with a bang," said Braswell. "Jayme is our heart and soul on the inside right now."
Townsend added 12 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two assists, while Heard collected ten points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Wayne played nine crucial minutes in the second half and ended up with six points, two steals and an assist. Wayne's duties at point-guard helped the Matadors create eleven assists and only six turnovers in the second half compared to two assists and eleven turnovers for the Matadors in the first half.
Braswell was quick to praise the play of his bench.
"I thought Therin was fantastic," said Braswell. "Tony (Osunsanmi) came into the game and got three rebounds in five minutes. Paul Wayne probably had his best game since earlier in the year. It was good to see that."
Cal State Northridge now is 8-3. The victory at Utah Valley State gives the Matadors the momentum heading into next week's Big West opener at Cal Poly (1/3/08, 7:05 p.m.) and then a trip to conference pre-season favorite UC Santa Barbara (1/5/08, 7:05 p.m.).
Matador Memo ...
Ten points by Jonathan Heard at Utah Valley State now gives the senior all-conference candidate 1,158 points for his four-year Matador career, only one short of ninth place all-time in the CSUN record book now occupied by George Robnett (1970-74, 1,159 points) ... Heard did move past Andre Chevalier (1990-94, 417) into eighth place on the Matador all-time Top 10 for career field goals ... Heard had four goals on Saturday night to give him 418 for his career ... Heard had seven field goal attempts against Utah Valley State to give him 869 for his career which moves him into eighth place all-time at CSUN just ahead of Loren Bracci (1967-69, 868).