February 2, 2012

Northridge Suffers 85-70 Setback to UC Santa Barbara

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Josh Greene recorded a team-high 15 points, and was one of three Matadors who finished in double figures Thursday night, but it was not enough as UC Santa Barbara shot 68 percent in the second half to defeat Cal State Northridge 85-70.

In addition to Greene, Stephan Hicks scored 12 points, with Vinnie McGhee adding another 11 as the trio led the Matadors in scoring in front of the second-largest crowd in recent Matadome history.

Originally constructed with a capacity of 5,000 people at the start of the 1962-63 season, the Matadome's seating was reduced to its current 1,600 seat configuration in 1999 due to damage sustained in the Northridge earthquake.

In front of a standing-room only crowd, 1,813 fans packed the Matadome to watch CSUN compete in its last home game until Cal Poly visits the Valley on Feb. 15.

The Matadors' next three games will take place on the road at Long Beach State (Feb. 4), at UC Davis (Feb. 9), and at Pacific (Feb. 11).

Thursday's audience fell only 38 fans short of setting a new all-time, reduced capacity attendance record. On Feb. 17, 2001, a crowd of 1,850 watched Cal State Northridge defeat Northern Arizona 78-72.

Throughout the first half of Thursday's game, everyone in attendance witnessed a highly competitive matchup that saw Cal State Northridge (6-14, 2-7 BWC) build an early seven-point lead against the visiting Gauchos.

Led by Orlando Johnson who finished with a game-high 25 points, UC Santa Barbara (12-7, 7-2 BWC) was able to swing that seven-point advantage towards its bench due to a 16-8 scoring run that took place during a six-minute timespan in the latter portion of the first half.

Held scoreless in the first half, Hicks began the second by making his first three field goal attempts. Responsible for six of the first seven points recorded by either squad in the second half, Hicks and his Matador teammates reduced the Gauchos' 38-31 halftime lead to only two.

As was the case in their last meeting on Jan. 19, in Santa Barbara, the Gauchos were able to withstand a furious Northridge scoring spree and respond with an effort of their own.

Throughout the second half, the Gauchos shot 17-for-25 (68.0 percent) from the field in comparison to the Matadors who were 14-for-36 (38.9 percent).

That two-point deficit would be as close as the Matadors would get towards regaining the lead as Santa Barbara's shooting effort helped the Gauchos pull away from Northridge as the game progressed.

"I did not think our effort was good enough tonight. I know that Santa Barbara is an experienced team… our defensive intensity was not where it needed to be," said Northridge head coach Bobby Braswell.

The Matadors finished the game with a 38-35 rebounding advantage, paced by Stephen Maxwell who finished with a team-high eight.

For the third time this season, Greene grabbed seven rebounds, followed by Michael Lizarraga who recorded five of his six boards against UCSB on offense.

Northridge entered Thursday's contest with a three-game home win streak against UC Santa Barbara, the loss was the first one suffered in Northridge, against the Gauchos since March 6, 2008.

The Matadors will make their first Fox Sports West appearance of the season this Saturday, Feb. 4, against the Long Beach State 49ers (16-6, 9-0 BWC). Tipoff from the Walter Pyramid is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

An internet radio broadcast, live stats, and in-game Twitter updates will also be available on GoMatadors.com.

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