Jan. 17, 2009
By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director (Media Relations)
Long Beach, Ca - A case of too many missed free throws and a porous defense in the first half spelled doom for the Cal State Northridge men's basketball team on Saturday night at Long Beach State.
The Matadors, seeking their third straight win of the year, instead hit only 12-of-24 free throw attempts for the game, and allowed the 49ers to hit 55 percent in the first half, and that helped contribute to a 74-68 loss to the 49ers at The Walter Pyramid.
Matador head coach Bobby Braswell didn't put salt and pepper on a tough steak. Braswell made his appraisal of the game, concise and direct.
"We lost the game in the first half, we just didn't defend," Braswell told reporters. "Offensively, we played really selfishly."
Thanks to their 55 percent shooting percentage, Long Beach State held a 40-32 lead at halftime. In the second half, the Matador defense clamped down on LBS' top shooters, holding the home team to 44 percent in the final 20 minutes.
A 46-35 Long Beach State lead with 18:29 to play dwindled to only one point, 51-50, with 10:41 to play. Then the Matadors took their first lead since the 14:36 mark of the first half. Mark Hill connected on a three-pointer to give the Matadors a 56-55 lead with 7:30 to play. However, the Matadors couldn't increase its lead, and a jumper by Larry Anderson ten seconds later gave the 49ers back the lead for good. Long Beach State increased its lead to as many as seven points (67-60) with 3:18 to play, and the Matadors could get no closer than three points (69-66) in the final 1:42.
The Matadors hit .358 (24-for-67) from the floor, 28 of those attempts from behind the arc. Simply unacceptable, according to Braswell.
"We just made poor decisions," said Braswell. "There was a point in the game where he had seven straight possessions where Long Beach State fouled us and we got to the free throw line. But we decided that wasn't good enough and started shooting up three-point shots."
Mark Hill, making his first appearance in a Cal State Northridge uniform since transferring from Tulsa in December of 2007, scored eleven points (3 three-pointers) along with three assists and one steal in 23 minutes at the point-guard position.
"I've been practicing really hard, and barely could sleep last night," said Hill. "We tried our best but didn't win. That was disappointing."
Braswell thought Hill played well, especially in the second half after the 14-month layoff from collegiate combination.
"He made some great decisions and made some great passes in the second half," said Braswell. "Mark also hit a couple big three-pointers."
Hill was one four CSUN players who tallied double-figures in points. Kenny Daniels contributed a team and career-high 15 points (5-for-7 from the floor, 2-for-3 from 3-point territory) along with five rebounds in 20 minutes. Willie Galick added eleven points and nine rebounds, while Tremaine Townsend collected his second straight double-double (points-rebounds) and 12th of his two-year Matador career with 12 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. At UC Riverside (1/14/09), Townsend grabbed 12 rebounds and scored eleven points.
"We just came out slow in the first half," said Townsend. "We made a valiant comeback in the second half, but winning on the road is tough, and Long Beach State is a good team.
The loss dropped Cal State Northridge to 3-2 in the Big West Conference and 6-9 overall. Long Beach State remains atop the conference at 5-0 and 10-7 overall.
"This was a tough game on the road," said Braswell. "We didn't give up, got the lead, and had a chance to win. But give Long Beach State credit."
The return game between the two schools is Feb. 28 (3:00 p.m.) at The Matadome.
Matador Memo ...
In the last two games, Tremaine Townsend has grabbed 26 rebounds and scored 23 points.