Northridge Opens Three-Game Homestand Against Cal Poly, Fresno State

GAME #24 (Big West Game #13):
Northridge Matadors (6-17, 2-10 Big West) vs. Cal Poly Mustangs (15-11, 6-6 Big West)

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - 7:05 p.m. PST
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Bill Courtland - PBP, Alan Zinsmeister - Analyst)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

GAME #25 (Sears BracketBusters):
Northridge Matadors vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (11-16)

Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012 - 7:05 p.m. PST
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio:
 GoMatadors.com (Bill Courtland - PBP, Alan Zinsmeister - Analyst)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
MATADORS LOOK TO REGAIN WINNING WAYS AGAINST MUSTANGS

Cal State Northridge will look to end its current four-game slide against the Cal Poly Mustangs this Thursday evening. As difficult as it has been recently for the Matadors to defeat the Mustangs in San Luis Obispo - Northridge has dropped its last three straight inside Mott Gymnasium - their fortunes have been quite the opposite inside the Matadome. Winners of their last four straight, and eight of the last 10 games played against Cal Poly in Northridge, the Matadors hope to start their final homestand of the season in a positive manner. Live stats and an internet radio broadcast of Wednesday's game will be available on GoMatadors.com.

All-Time Series Record Against Cal Poly: Northridge trails 41-46
Home Record: 25-16  
Away Record: 16-30  
Neutral Record: 0-0
This Season's Result: at Cal Poly 100, Northridge 54 (1/21/12)
Last Year's Results: at Northridge 80, Cal Poly 65 (1/22/11) and at Cal Poly 72, Northridge 49 (2/16/11)
Last Northridge Home Win: Northridge 80, Cal Poly 65 (1/22/11)
Series Streak: Cal Poly +2

A CLOSER LOOK AT CAL POLY

In its first meeting of the season, Cal Poly defeated Northridge behind a torrid 15-for-21 three-point shooting performance, a collective effort that saw the Mustangs make their first 11 straight shots from behind the arc. In addition to Cal Poly, Niagara and Eastern Kentucky are the only Division I teams to make a NCAA record 11 consecutive three-point shots. Those 11 threes comprised CSUN's 57-24 halftime deficit, a margin that the Matadors were unable to decrease as the game progressed.

Notwithstanding their back-to-back home games against UC Riverside and UC Irvine last week, the Mustangs are two-thirds of the way through a road-heavy portion of their schedule. Starting with its game at Pacific on Jan. 26, Cal Poly will play seven of nine games on the road before competing in its final two games of the season at home against UC Davis and Pacific. In addition to earning wins in both home games last week, Cal Poly also earned a road win at UC Davis to improve its record during this nine-game, 30-day block of action to 3-3. After their game at Northridge, the Mustangs will participate in their Sears BracketBuster game at Northern Colorado this Saturday before competing in its final regular season road contest at UC Santa Barbara one week later.

As is the case with Long Beach State, Cal Poly head coach Joe Callero will primarily utilize a six-man rotation against the Matadors. Unlike his 49er counterpart, Callero also has a deep bench at his disposal when necessary. In addition to his six players who have seen action in all 26 games, another five have made 20 or more appearances this season. Led by senior forward David Hanson, five Mustangs are averaging seven or more points per game. In addition to Hanson's 11.5 ppg figure, senior forward Will Taylor is the only other player who is averaging double-digit points per appearance. In addition to contributing 10.3 ppg, Taylor also leads his team with 7.2 rpg.

The Mustangs enter Wednesday's contest with a 15-11 overall record, and are tied for fourth place in the Big West alongside Pacific with matching 6-6 conference records. 

WHAT'S NEXT FOR NORTHRIDGE - FRESNO STATE

The Fresno State Bulldogs will travel to Northridge for the first time in nearly four decades to face the Matadors in this year's Sears BracketBusters event. One of the original six members of the Big West, then known as the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference when first formed in 1969, Fresno State switched its conference affiliation and joined the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in 1992. Even though only a couple hundred miles separate Fresno State from Cal State Northridge, these teams have only faced each other on one occasion since the Matadors joined the Big West in 2001. Taking place in Fresno on Dec. 7, 2005, the Bulldogs defeated the Matadors 75-60.

The two faced one another numerous times on an annual basis from 1962-73 before taking a 19-year hiatus from competition. Resuming their head-to-head series in 1992, the Matadors and Bulldogs have only competed in four head-to-head occasions since, with every one of those games taking place in Fresno. Saturday's game will mark Fresno State's first appearance in Northridge since Dec. 29, 1973.

Fresno State enters the Matadome with an 11-16 overall record, and losses in its last two games at San Jose State and at Hawaii. As successful as they have been at home, the Bulldogs have struggled on the road this season as only three of their 11 victories have been earned outside the Save Mart Center. The Bulldogs will enjoy a slight advantage over Northridge when the two take the court as Fresno State will have had a full week to prepare for its BracketBusters matchup in comparison to a CSUN squad that will compete in its second game within a four-day timespan. 

Sophomore guard Kevin Olekaibe leads a 10-man Fresno State roster in scoring with 17.8 ppg, and is the team's primary long-range threat. Connecting on 76-of-221 (34.4 percent) shots from three, Olekaibe has almost as many baskets from distance as the rest of his teammates combined (82). Led by sophomore forward Jerry Brown with 5.6 rpg, four Bulldogs are pulling down four or more rebounds per game. As is the case with Olekaibe from three, Steven Shepp is responsible for a sizable portion of Fresno State's assists. Of the team's 300 assists, 128 have been earned by the senior guard.

As a team, the Bulldogs are shooting 41.5 percent from the field, 72.6 percent from the free throw line, and 32.4 percent from behind the arc. 

All-Time Series Record Against Fresno State: Northridge trails 5-25
Home Record: 2-10  
Away Record: 3-15
Neutral Record: 0-0
Last Northridge Home Win: Northridge 100, Fresno State 97 (OT) (2/8/69)
Series Streak: Fresno State +1

DROPPING DIMES ALL OVER THE COURT

With a sizable contingent of family and friends in attendance, Vinnie McGhee set a new career high at Pacific last Saturday by earning nine of CSUN's 15 assists. 

THE MATADORS' TWO FROM THREE

Collectively responsible for eight of the Matadors' nine three-point field goals, Josh Greene and Vinnie McGhee helped CSUN come within 1.9 seconds of earning the team's second straight victory in Stockton. Greene set a new season high by making five of his seven shots from three, with McGhee tying his season high for the seventh time with his three three-point baskets. In addition to his efforts at Pacific, McGhee has also made three from three at USC, vs. San Diego Christian, at Santa Clara, against Pacifica, Cal State Fullerton, and at UC Davis.

DAMAGE FROM DOWNTOWN

Bolstered by the shooting performances of Josh Greene and Vinnie McGhee, Cal State Northridge recorded a season-high 64.3 three-point percentage last Saturday at Pacific. In addition to Greene (5-for-7) and McGhee (3-for-5), John Hayward-Mayhew recorded CSUN's other basket from three in his only attempt of the night. Including Stephan Hicks who missed his only shot from long range, the Matadors were 9-of-14 from three. 

MATADORS DRAW BULLDOGS IN BRACKETBUSTERS MATCHUP

Cal State Northridge will host the Fresno State Bulldogs for the first time in over 38 years on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 7:05 p.m., in this year's Sears BracketBusters game. This will be the sixth BracketBusters appearance for the Matadors, who are 2-3 in previous matchups. Last season, CSUN earned a 68-59 victory at Eastern Washington.

Cal State Northridge and Fresno State have previously faced one another on 30 occasions, with the Bulldogs holding a 25-5 advantage. The last meeting between the teams took place on Dec. 7, 2005 in Fresno, Calif.

A record total of 142 teams, representing 16 collegiate athletic conferences, are competing in the 10th annual event. All nine Big West teams are participating in this year's event, other pairings include Long Beach State at No. 12 Creighton (Feb. 18, 7 p.m., ESPN2/ESPN3), Cal Poly at Northern Colorado, UC Davis at Northern Arizona, UC Santa Barbara at Utah State, Montana State at Cal State Fullerton, Eastern Washington at UC Irvine, Southern Utah at UC Riverside, and Idaho State at Pacific. 

HE'S ON FIRE!

After a slow start in which he combined for 16 points through the first three games, Josh Greene's production has picked up drastically as he has reached double figures in points in 14 of his 23 appearances this season. In his last six games, Greene is averaging 18.5 ppg, and has finished as the team's highest scorer in CSUN's last four appearances.

MATADOME MADNESS

In front of a standing-room only crowd, 1,813 fans packed the Matadome to watch Northridge compete against UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, Feb. 2. That 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. 

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 1994 Northridge earthquake. 

NORTHRIDGE VS. THE NATION

The most successful Big West team at the free throw line this season, Northridge is ranked No. 26 in the nation with its 75.0 free throw percentage. Weber St. leads all Division I teams with its 80.3 free throw percentage.

REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS

Currently shooting 75.0 percent from the free throw line this season, this year's team is on pace to record the highest percentage in the program's history. The 1961-62 Matadors occupy first place all-time with its 73.6 percent mark (454-for-617) from the line. 

MORE ADDITIONS

At its current pace, this year's team will tie the 1990-91 squad for seventh place all-time with 183 three-point field goals. After 23 games, the Matadors have connected on 147-of-459 attempts.

Another 15 three-point attempts by Vinnie McGhee will land the senior guard in 10th place with 152 three-point attempts in a season. The senior guard also ended the 2011-12 campaign with 152 attempts in his 32 games played.

THE FIRST OF MANY

Entering Wednesday's game with 113 free throws made, freshman guard/forward Stephan Hicks will add his name to CSUN's single-season record books once he connects on another 13 shots from the line. Brian Heinle (2000-01) and Willie Galick (2009-10) are currently tied for ninth place with 126 free throws made in their respective seasons.

NO SHOT FOR YOU!

If sophomore forward Frankie Eteuati blocks another eight shots, he will earn a 10th-place spot alongside Brian Heinle and Cliff Higgins with 27 blocked shots earned in a single season. Heinle recorded his total during the 1999-2000 season, with Higgins swatting his shots throughout the 1982-83 campaign.

SINGLE SEASON RAINMAKER

With 50 three-point field goals to his credit this season, Josh Greene can also add his name to the Northridge single-season record books by making another seven shots from behind the arc. Doing so will tie Greene with Gerald Rhoden (1996-97), Ian Boylan (2002-03), and Mike Efevberha (2005-06) in eighth place with 57 field goals.

NOTHING BUT NET

On Saturday, Jan. 28, at Cal State Bakersfield, the Matadors shot a season-high 61.0 percent by making made 25-of-41 shots against the Roadrunners. This is the highest field goal percentage recorded by Northridge since its appearance at the 2010 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif. In CSUN's 88-66 victory over DePaul, the Matadors made 34 of their 56 shots, and finished with a 60.7 field goal percentage.

FOLLOW THE LEADER

In addition to leading all Big West freshman with four double-doubles, Stephan Hicks also leads all first-year players with four 20-point games, and five 10-rebound games.

THEIR NAME IS ON THE LIST

Earning a split of their season series against Cal State Bakersfield with their 76-68 win on Jan. 28, the Matadors also handed the Roadrunners the 17th loss in their program's history at the Icardo Center. Completed in 1989, Bakersfield possesses a 172-17 all-time record at the Icardo Center as of Jan. 29, 2012. Including their most recent victory over the Roadrunners, Northridge is responsible for two of those 17 losses suffered by CSUB in its on-campus facility.

CSUN ADDS LATE-SEASON GAME AGAINST SAINT MARY'S

Cal State Northridge men's basketball has added a late-season game, and will now end its 2011-12 schedule on the road against Saint Mary's. The Matadors-Gaels 7 p.m. matchup will take place on Friday, March 9, at McKeon Pavilion, and marks the final appearance in a Northridge uniform for seniors Ari Feldman, John Hayward-Mayhew, Michael Lizarraga, and Vinnie McGhee.

Saint Mary's is the third West Coast Conference school the Matadors will face this season. Defeated by 13 points at Santa Clara last December, CSUN rebounded the following week at Pepperdine with a three-point victory against the Waves. This is CSUN's first trip to Moraga, Calif. since Dec. 22, 1995. 

YOU CAN'T STOP THEM FROM EITHER SIDE OF THE LINE

Setting a new season-high against Cal State Bakersfield with its 61.0 field goal percentage, Northridge also shot a season-high 53.3 percent from three-point distance. Led by Josh Greene who made all three of his shots from three, the Matadors were 8-of-15 from behind the arc against the Roadrunners.

PROTECT AND SERVE

With 76 assists to his credit, against 45 turnovers, in his 23 games played this season, Vinnie McGhee leads all Big West players with a 1.69 assist-to-turnover ratio. 

A BIG FAN OF BAKERSFIELD

In his inaugural game as a Matador, Stephen Maxwell earned his first ever collegiate double-double by finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds in front of the Northridge faithful versus Cal State Bakersfield (11/30/11). In CSUN's return matchup in Bakersfield (1/28/12), Maxwell scored 12 points to finish with his fourth double-digit scoring effort of the season. In addition to his efforts in both games against Bakersfield, the freshman forward scored 12 points versus Pacifica (12/17/11) and 10 points against UC Davis (1/14/12).

NOW YOU SEE IT ... NOW YOU DON'T

Led by Vinnie McGhee with 28, Cal State Northridge has seven players who have recorded 10 or more steals this season. Other Matadors with double-digit totals include Stephan Hicks (21), Josh Greene (19), Aqeel Quinn (13), Allan Guei, Stephen Maxwell (12), and Michael Lizarraga (11).

GOTCHA!

With 147 steals earned throughout their 23 games played, the Matadors are ranked No. 2 in the Big West with an average of 6.57 steals per game. 

A PERFECT 10

Successful in all four of his field goal attempts at Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday, Jan. 28, Ari Feldman tied his season/career high with 10 points for the third time this season. Feldman also finished with 10 points for CSUN at Hawai'i (11/14/11), and versus San Diego Christian (11/22/11).

BIG WEST BREAKTHROUGH

Northridge became the first Big West team in seven attempts to defeat Cal State Bakersfield this season with its 76-68 victory over the Roadrunners. In addition to defeating the Matadors earlier this season, Bakersfield also earned in a win in its one game against Cal Poly, and both contests against Cal State Fullerton and Pacific.

MATADOR DOUBLE-DOUBLES

Michael Lizarraga earned his second career double-double on Saturday, Jan. 21, at Cal Poly, when he finished with a team-high 11 points and 10 rebounds. Lizarraga's performance was the first of back-to-back double-double efforts by a Matador as Stephan Hicks recorded 18 points and 10 assists the very next game versus Cal State Fullerton (1/26/12).

This is the fourth time this season that Hicks has finished with a double-double as he also recorded identical numbers against Pacific (1/12/12) and Pacifica (12/17/11). His first-ever double-double took place in his second game as a Matador when he finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds at Hawai'i (11/14/11).

Josh Greene and freshman forward Stephen Maxwell are responsible for the remaining Northridge double-double efforts; Greene scored 15 points, and recorded 11 assists against Pacifica to record his first of the season, with Maxwell recording his versus Cal State Bakersfield (11/30/11). In his first appearance in a Northridge uniform, Maxwell scored 20 points and collected 11 rebounds. Five of the seven Northridge double-doubles earned this season took place inside the Matadome, with Hicks' performance at Hawai'i and Lizarraga's effort at Cal Poly being the exceptions. 

Greene's double-double versus Pacific was the second of his career, the sophomore guard's inaugural effort took place last season on Nov. 20, 2010, when he scored 17 points, and grabbed 11 rebounds versus Vanguard. Lizarraga's first-ever double-double also took place during the 2010-11 season when he finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds against Long Beach State (2/12/2011).

DOUBLE YOUR DOUBLE-DOUBLE INFORMATION

Of the 66 double-doubles recorded this season by Big West players, nine have been earned by four different freshman. In addition to Matador swingman Stephan Hicks who leads all freshmen with four, UC Irvine's Will Davis II and UC Santa Barbara's Alan Williams have each recorded two double-double apiece. CSUN forward Stephen Maxwell completes the list with one double-double. 

CSUN SCORING STREAKS

Redshirt freshman Stephan Hicks recorded double-digit point totals in the first 16 games of the season, a streak that was snapped in his first visit to Cal Poly on Jan. 21. This is the third-longest, regular season, double-digit scoring streak by a Matador during Bobby Braswell's 16-year tenure as head coach. 

Recording double figures in the last two games of the 1999-2000 season, Brian Heinle scored 10 or more points in all 32 regular season games the following season to end his Northridge career with double-digit points in his final 34 games as a Matador. After Heinle, Ian Boylan (2002-03 season) is second with 18, followed by Hicks, Lenny Daniel and Rashaun McLemore. Daniel and McLemore each finished with double-digit totals in 14 straight games during the 2010-11 campaign.

SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE

Vinnie McGhee ranks second in the Big West (conference games only) with his 2.19 assist-to-turnover ratio. McGhee has 46 assists, against 11 turnovers, throughout his 12 conference games played.

YOU NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION

Stephan Hicks has provided a consistent level of production for Cal State Northridge as a redshirt freshman. He had a torrid start to his career with three 20-point efforts in the first four games, and most recently set a new career high by scoring 26 points at Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday, Jan. 28.  Hicks has scored in double figures in 20 of 23 games, and has led the Matadors in scoring on 15 occasions. The 6-5 swingman ranks No. 6 in the Big West in scoring (15.7 ppg), No. 4 in rebounding (7.1 rpg), and leads all freshmen with four double-doubles. Hicks is also the Big West's sixth-most accurate free throw shooter, connecting on 81.2 percent (113-of-140) of his opportunities from the line.

CSUN'S BLOCK PARTY

Led by Frankie Eteuati and his team-high 19 blocks, the Matadors enter Wednesday's game with an average of 2.39 blocks per game. Eteuati is singlehandedly responsible for more than one-third (34.5 percent) of his team's 55 blocked shots.

THAT'S THE GUEI TO GET YOUR TEAMMATES INVOLVED

Freshman Allan Guei enters Saturday's game ranked No. 3 on the team with 49 assists, trailing only Vinnie McGhee and Josh Greene for the team's top spot in this category. McGhee leads the team with 78 assists, with Greene trailing him by nine with his total of 67.

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

CSUN's Stephan Hicks and UC Santa Barbara's James Nunnally both had their double-digit scoring streaks stopped in their respective games on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Cal Poly, and at home against Long Beach State. The only players to score 10 or more points in every contest this season prior entering the round of Big West games scheduled on Jan. 21, Hicks ended that day with eight points against the Mustangs, with Nunnally scoring only five against the 49ers.

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE

The Matadors have made the most of their free throw opportunities throughout the season as Northridge possesses a conference-high 75.0 free throw percentage (354-for-472). Led by Josh Greene (40-for-43, 83.3 percent), Allen Guei (24-for-29, 82.8 percent), Aqeel Quinn (41-for-50, 82 percent), Vinnie McGhee (31-for-38, 81.6 percent), and Stephan Hicks (113-for-140, 81.0 percent) are the only Matadors who have made 10 free throws, and are shooting 80 percent or higher from the free throw line. If successful in his next two attempts, Davon Potts will join that group as he enters Thursday's game a perfect 8-for-8 from the line.

THAT'S THE (PRIME) TICKET

Cal State Northridge made the first of its two appearances this season on Fox Sports Prime Ticket on Saturday, Jan. 21, against the Cal Poly Mustangs. Even though the end result did not fall in CSUN's favor, the Matadors will have another opportunity to earn a victory in front of a televised audience in their return matchup against the UC Irvine Anteaters. Taking place at the Bren Events Center, that game will also serve as the last of five scheduled television appearances for the Matadors this season. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

JUST GIVE HIM THE POINTS

Successful in all but eight of his 48 trips to the free throw line this season, Josh Greene leads all Matadors (min. 10 attempts) with his 83.3 free throw percentage. If Davon Potts make his next two free throws, he will meet the minimum, bypass Greene, and possess the team's highest free throw percentage. Potts has been successful in all eight trips to the charity stripe this season.

DANGEROUS FROM DOWNTOWN

Responsible for the final three of his team's points during its 16-0 second-half scoring run against UC Davis on Saturday, Jan. 14, Ari Feldman's three-point shot all but officially earned the win for the Matadors as the Aggies were unable to regain the lead for the remainder of the game.

Even though he has only attempted 12 3-pt. field goals in the 10 Big West games he has appeared in, Feldman has been extremely successful from long range. Connecting on six of those shots, Feldman's 50 percent 3-pt. field goal percentage would tie him for second place in the Big West alongside Cal State Fullerton's Kwame Vaughn (conference games only) if he met the Big West's minimum average of 1.0 made 3-pt. field goals per game. 

IT'S BETTER TO RECEIVE THAN GIVE ...

Cal State Northridge is forcing its opponents to commit 15.6 turnovers per game, the highest average in the conference. The Matadors are also ranked No. 2 in the Big West with a +1.65 turnover margin, trailing only Pacific and its conference-high +2.08 figure. 

... OR IS IT BETTER TO GIVE THAN RECEIVE?

Tying his season high with six assists earned against Long Beach State on Jan. 7, Allan Guei was responsible for nearly half of the 13 assists the Matadors recorded that game. This was the third time in his brief collegiate carer that Guei collected six assists, the first two occasions also took place inside the Matadome against San Diego Christian (11/22/11) and Pacifica (12/17/11).

THANK YOU VERY MUCH

Northridge has forced its opponents to commit 349 turnovers, the second-highest amount in the conference behind Long Beach State's 367 - a collective effort by the 49ers that has been earned in their 25 games played, compared to CSUN's 23.

THREE TIMES THE TROUBLE

Josh Greene is building a reputation as one of the most dangerous three-point threats in the Big West. Leading all Matadors (min. 10 3-pt. FGM) with his 37.6 three-point shooting percentage (50-for-133), Greene and Vinnie McGhee are the only two Matadors who have made 30 or more baskets from behind the arc this season. McGhee's 29.2 3-pt. percentage (40-for-137) is the second-highest on the team, with Aqeel Quinn's 28.4 percent figure (19-of-67) rounding out CSUN's top three from three. 

ROOM FOR ONE MORE?

As previously mentioned, Josh Greene, Vinnie McGhee, and Aqeel Quinn are CSUN's most successful three-point shooters this season. Ari Feldman (8-for-15, 53.3 percent) and John Hayward-Mayhew (8-for-16, 50 percent) are only two field goals shy from becoming the fifth and sixth Matadors with 10 or more 3-pt. field goals made this season. In addition to Greene, McGhee, and Quinn, Stephan Hicks has made 13 baskets from three. 

CLEANING THE GLASS

In addition to averaging 34.2 rebounds per game, Northridge leads all Big West teams with its 13.70 offensive rebounds per game average. Stephan Hicks is fourth in the conference with a team-high 2.70 o/rpg, with Stephen Maxwell ranked fifth in the Big West with his 2.61 o/rpg average. 

WELCOME BACK

The Cal State Northridge men's basketball program announced that Michael Lizarraga has been granted a season of competition waiver by the NCAA and will be eligible to play for the Matadors for the final 20 games of the 2011-12 season beginning Dec. 17 against Pacifica College.

Lizarraga, a 6-7 forward from Dixon, Calif., averaged 3.5 points and 2.7 rebounds while playing in 79 games during his Matador career which began in 2007-08. As a senior in 2010-11, he appeared in a career-high 32 games, starting 10, while averaging a career-high 5.9 points per game and shooting 52.2% from the floor. He finished the season as the teams' second leading rebounder at 4.2 rebounds per game as the Matadors advanced to the Big West Tournament semifinals. 

Lizarraga was awarded a special Inspirational Award by the Big West Conference head coaches as the nation's only deaf NCAA Division I men's basketball student-athlete following the 2010-11 season.

A YOUNG MAN'S GAME 

The youngest Division I team in the nation, the 19 players on CSUN's roster possess a combined 13 years of previous collegiate experience for an average of 0.68 years per player. Another Big West counterpart, UC Irvine, ranks second with 0.69 years of average experience, with Navy completing the top three with an average of 0.70 years. The 19-man Matador roster has only four seniors, and zero juniors, with the remaining positions filled by seven freshmen, six sophomores, and two redshirt freshmen.

EARLY SIGNING SUCCESS

During the early signing period in November, Brandon Perry and Donovan Johnson signed national letters of intent, and are committed to playing for Cal State Northridge next season. Perry, a 6-6 forward, played a pivotal role in helping Taft High School earn its spot in the Los Angeles City championships during the 2010-11 season. Ranked by many publications as one of the top 150 players in the country, Perry helped Taft earn a 29-3 record and a perfect 10-0 mark in the West Valley League as a junior last season. 

A 6-3 guard hailing from Palisades High School, Johnson averaged 16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and steals per game throughout the 2010-11 season to gain Los Angeles All-City and Western League Most Valuable Player accolades. As a junior, Johnson scored in double figures in 28 of the team's 32 games, highlighted by his season-high 30-point effort against Westchester High School. 

CHEER FOR THE MATADORS AT HOME, EVEN WHEN THE TEAM IS ON THE ROAD

During the past four seasons, 32 games involving Northridge basketball have been featured prominently on television. During CSUN's march to the NCAA Tournament during the 2008-09 season, Matador games were televised a school-record nine times. Fans of Matador men's basketball will have the opportunity to see their team compete in five televised broadcasts, on four different networks, throughout the 2011-12 season. 

Already featured nationally by ESPN on Nov. 15, 2011, at Hawai'i, Fox Sports Prime Ticket on Jan. 21, 2012, at Cal Poly, Fox Sports West on Feb. 4, at Long Beach State, and Comcast SportsNet California on Feb. 9, at UC Davis, the Matadors' next television appearance will take place on Feb. 25, at UC Irvine, on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. 

PRESEASON PREDICTIONS

Predicted to finish in eighth place last season as announced in the Big West Conference's annual preseason poll, the Matadors proved the experts wrong, eventually finishing the 2010-11 season in third place with a 9-7 conference record en route to their berth in the semifinals of the Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim. 

This year, the pre-season results are exactly the same as CSUN tallied 61 points to earn another eighth-place finish, just two points behind a UC Davis squad that finished seventh, and six points ahead of ninth-place UC Irvine (55 points). Collecting 20 first-place votes from the 24-member voting panel for a total of 212 points, Long Beach State was selected the favorite to claim the 2011-12 Big West men's basketball title. UC Santa Barbara was picked to finish second in this year's media poll, receiving the four remaining first-place votes and 196 points, with Cal Poly rounding out the top three with 158 points. Cal State Fullerton finished fourth with 131 points, with UC Riverside and Pacific completing the poll in fifth and sixth place with 114 and 91 points.

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