By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director (Media Relations)
Irvine, Calif. – On a Saturday afternoon at UC Irvine's annual homecoming, the Anteaters treated their fans (past and present) to an offensive display that Cal State Northridge could not stop.
UCI hit an incredible 75 percent (15-for-20) from the floor in the second half to smother the Matadors, 79-69, in a Big West Conference game before 3,907 fans at the Bren Center.
Seven of UCI's 15 second-half baskets came from three-point territory. Darran Starring, who failed to score in the first half for UC Irvine, hit 4-of-4 three-pointers en route to 14 points.
Matador head coach Bobby Braswell didn't need to see the final box score. Braswell knew CSUN's defense was poor.
"Our defense just wasn't very good at all," said Braswell. "This was probably our worst defensive effort (of the season). "They (UCI) hit some big shots. They hit some big three's. But we didn't step up and respond to it. We just sat back on our heels. Right now we are not the aggressor."
UC Irvine shot .556 in the first half, but the Matadors were able to keep the game close. The game was tied eight times in the first 20 minutes. The lead changed four times.
Cal State Northridge enjoyed its biggest lead of the game, 21-16, with 9:51 left in the first half. But in the next 4:45, the Anteaters tied the game at 29-29 and eventually held a 38-35 half time lead.
UCI's defense zeroed in on CSUN's leading scorer, Stephan Hicks, the entire game. Hicks, who three nights earlier scored a career-high 26 points at Long Beach State, was held to a career-low five points. Hicks, who was the league's third leading scorer entering the game at 18.7 ppg, scored less than double-digit points for the first time in 17 games this year.
Stephen Maxwell and Josh Greene took up the scoring slack for Cal State Northridge. Maxwell muscled his way for a game-high 20 points (9-for-13 from the floor) along with seven rebounds (six offensive rebounds) and two steals. Greene added 15 points.
The loss dropped CSUN's record to 9-8 overall and 0-5 in league competition. UC Irvine is 9-9 overall and 3-2 in the Big West Conference.
Matador Memo …
Lonnie Watson made his first collegiate start and played 13 minutes … In 45 games played by Stephan Hicks in two seasons at Cal State Northridge, only six games has Hicks failed to score in double figures including Saturday's game at UC Irvine … The Matadors will now regroup to face UC Davis (1/17/13, 7:05 pm) and Pacific (1/19/13, 7:05 pm) at The Matadome.