By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director, Media Relations
Northridge, Calif. – Tragedy can strike anytime, anywhere; near or far.
The tragedy in Newtown, Ct., has broken our hearts, but somehow our collective spirit will endure. It will take time.
Tragedy has now hit home for Cal State Northridge freshman forward Trevone Williams.
On Dec. 13, Williams received a phone call that we all dread; news of the death of a parent, spouse, relative or a close friend. Williams' beloved father, Tyrone Williams, had died suddenly from diabetes in Los Angeles.
Tyrone Williams was only 45-years-old.
"My dad was my best friend, my mentor," said Williams after scoring 13 points and grabbing six rebounds in CSUN's 93-63 victory over San Diego Christian in a non-league men's basketball game on Tuesday night at The Matadome. "He taught me everything I knew. He has always been in my life. His passing came so unexpected. When I received the phone call, I couldn't take it. I just lost it."
Matadors head coach Bobby Braswell has also known tragedy in recent months. Braswell's beloved mother recently passed away.
"Your heart obviously breaks for him (Trevone Williams)," said Braswell. "His teammates have all expressed their love for him. He's been gone for a couple days, but when he walked back into the gym the other day, he caught everybody off guard. Everybody ran up to him and hugged him. Trevone and I talked. He said '… Is it ok to come back, practice and play with the team?' I told him this (the basketball team) is his second home. I told him we would love to have him back, but I told him you don't need to be back right now. I told him to take care of his family matters. I think it was good medicine for him to be here and play tonight. He played a great game tonight. We are praying for him and his family."
Williams played like a champion against San Diego Christian. Williams pumped in a season-high 13 points along with six rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench. It was the third straight game Williams has scored in double figures in a reserve role.
Trevone's father would be proud.
"My dad wanted me to go to school and to play basketball, and that is what I'm going to do," said Williams who was surrounded by family and friends after the game. "My dad was a giver. He never asked for anything in return. He was always in the corner (of the gym) watching me play basketball. I'm going to miss being there (in the corner).
The 93-63 victory over San Diego Christian raised CSUN's season record to 8-3.
Brandon Perry scored a career-high 22 points while Stephan Hicks added his third straight double-double with 14 points and eleven rebounds to help propel Cal State Northridge to the 30-point victory (93-63).
Perry, whose previous best scoring effort was 19 points against Eastern Washington (11/12/12), came off the bench to play 18 minutes. During that time, the 6-foot-7, 275-pound freshman center hit 7-of-8 shots from the floor and blocked a season-high five blocks.
Hicks's 14 points and eleven rebounds gave him five double-doubles for the year and ten during the past two seasons.
Cal State Northridge jumped to a 51-32 halftime lead.
"We did what we needed to do to win, and I'm happy with that," said Braswell. "It's been ten days since we last played; the first game after final exams. I think we had a little bit of finals blues. I don't think we played at a level we need to play against a good team like Utah (Dec. 21). We did what we needed to do (to win). It's about us growing up and showing some maturity, and understanding what we need to do to be prepared game-in and game-out."
Despite the decisive win, Braswell said there is room for improvement especially with two tough road opponents, Utah (Dec. 21) and Hawai'i (Dec.29), waiting for the Matadors to arrive on their home court.
On Friday, the Matadors travel to Salt Lake City to face the University of Utah, the third Pac-12 opponent the Matadors will face this year.
The Utes are 7-3, and have a talented 7-foot, 248-pound center in Dallin Bachynski. Dallin's older brother, Jordan Bachynski, recently tallied the first triple-double in Arizona State history when he scored 13 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked a school record 12 blocks in ASU's 87-76 victory over Cal State Northridge on Dec. 8.
"We'll be playing a Utah team that is very similar to Arizona State," said Braswell. "We're going to have to be a good basketball to compete against them. But it's an opportunity to do something special."