Matadors Fall to Fresno State, 62-49

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Josh Greene led all players in scoring with 20 points, but a second-half scoring outburst by Fresno State (12-16) was enough to defeat Cal State Northridge (7-18) 62-49 in Saturday night's Sears BracketBusters game.

This is the fourth time in the last five games that Greene finished with 20 or more points, and the sixth straight occasion that the sophomore guard led the Matadors in scoring.

"I think Josh Greene played really well, and shot the ball well," said Northridge head coach Bobby Braswell. "The way he has been playing recently, he is a very, very confident basketball player right now."

Stephan Hicks
 scored 11 points, and grabbed 12 rebounds to record his fifth double-double of the season. No other Big West freshman has recorded as many double-doubles as CSUN's first-year guard/forward.

Finishing just one rebound shy of tying his teammate's effort, Steven Maxwell asserted himself under the basket at both ends of the floor to finish with 11 rebounds.

This is the second straight game, and the fourth time this season, that Maxwell has collected 10 or more rebounds in a game. 

During the first 20 minutes of action, Northridge almost outshot Fresno State across the board. In comparison to a CSUN squad that shot 12-of-27 (44.4 percent) from the field, 5-of-5 (100 percent) from the free throw line, and 3-of-9 from three (33.3 percent), Fresno State made only 8-of-28 (28.6 percent) field goal attempts, was 6-for-6 from the line (100 percent), and connected on only 1-of-6 (16.7 percent) shots from long range.

Much to the delight of the Matador faithful in attendance, including Sunday's Northridge Hall of Fame inductees, the Matadors outscored the Bulldogs 19-5 in the final minutes of the half to take a 32-23 lead at the break. 

On the eve of their Hall of Fame banquet, Larry Ramirez, John Tronson, Bill Cullum, and the 1983 Matador softball team were honored in a special halftime ceremony, and received a boisterous ovation from the 1,100-plus in attendance inside The Matadome.

Once play resumed, the Bulldogs wasted no time in chipping away at CSUN's advantage, and eventually took a 44-41 lead of their own with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Even though the Matadors struggled from the field throughout the entire second half, compared to a Fresno State team that made half of its shots, CSUN still had a chance to secure its second straight BracketBusters victory as the game was tied at 46 with 5:24 remaining.

Unfortunately for Northridge, a 10-1 Fresno State scoring run sealed the Matadors' fate, as CSUN was forced to foul the Bulldogs to stop the clock in the final moments of the game.

By making their last six free throws, Fresno State was able to extend its nine-point lead to the game's final 13-point margin.

Led by Kevin Foster, who scored five of his team-high 17 points during that late-game scoring run, three Bulldogs ended their evening in double figures. 

Even though CSUN outrebounded Fresno State 42-29, it was not enough to negate the second-half efforts of a Bulldogs squad that outscored the Matadors 39-17.

"I thought our defense was ok, giving up 39 points in the second half is a lot of points after holding them to 23 in the first half," said Braswell.

"We are going to do everything we can to prepare, come back, and compete Wednesday night."

The Matadors' final home game of the season will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 22, against UC Riverside. The 2011-12 men's basketball senior class will be honored in a ceremony following the conclusion of the game, CSUN's home finale will start at 7:05 p.m.