Jan. 30, 2009
By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director (Media Relations)
Santa Barbara, Ca. - Vincent Cordell - please step forward.
Cordell earned his first start of the 2008-09 season, and the evening ended when the junior forward from Huntsville, Alabama, scored on a layup with eleven seconds to play to lift the Cal State Northridge men's basketball team to a highly dramatic 72-70 road win at UC Santa Barbara in a Big West game that was seen nationally on ESPNU.
Cordell added a season-high seven rebounds on an evening that head coach Bobby Braswell praised the Matadors for its passion, intensity, and the will to win a tough game in a tough environment, UCSB's home court, the Thunderdome.
"I'm really proud of the team," said Braswell. "To lose Rob (Haynes) in the first two minutes of the game, and not having Deon (Tresvant), you're taking around 30 points a game. But the team really fought and clawed its way to victory. We hung in there, and the guys off the bench really stepped up."
Haynes, who entered the game averaging 10.7 ppg, and shooting .515 from the floor, collided with a UCSB player at the 18:12 mark of the first half and fell to the floor. Haynes suffered a concussion and a cut lip and was taken to a nearby hospital for observation.
With Haynes out of the game, the Matador bench picked up the slack, and performed like champions.
"When you have players who are out, like Rob Haynes, you have to step up," said Josh Jenkins, who passed the ball to Cordell for the winning hoop. "When Rob got hurt, I just looked at the bench to see who would step up. Matthew Wallace came in and added a key three-pointer in the first half, and others like Rodrigue Mels came off the bench to score 13 points. We knew that with Rob out, a lot more minutes were going to be coming the team's way. Everybody stepped up."
Braswell sensed that although the team was playing in a difficult road environment, and was missing two of its top players (Rob Haynes and Deon Tresvant), the adversity fueled the team's intensity to a fever pitch.
"This was an emotional game," said Braswell. "The team played with a lot energy in a very physical game. I'm really proud of the effort, especially defensively. The thing that impressed me most was when we in the huddle during timeouts. The guys kept saying `defense, defense. We need a stop. Let's get a stop.'
After Cordell's layup put the Matadors in front, 72-70, the Gauchos still had a chance to either tie or win the game with eleven seconds to play. However, the Matadors defense snuffed out any chance that UCSB entertained.
"I think the defensive stop at the end was huge," said Braswell. "I told them this is what Northridge defense is all about."
The Gauchos were only able get one shot at the basket, a three-point attempt, in the final eleven seconds.
Cordell said he was thankful he had a chance to contribute to the team's eighth of the victory of the season.
"This was a big game for the team," said Cordell. "I just wanted to come out with a lot of energy. It gave me a lot of confidence that I had the opportunity to start. I wanted to start the game by getting a lot of rebounds, and I had the opportunity to make the winning basket."
Braswell also praised the Cordell's effort, especially his pressure shot to win the game.
"Vincent hasn't played a lot this year," said Braswell. "But I told him to be ready, and Josh (Jenkins) executed the play perfectly. Josh made a great pass. Vincent had to finish the play, and he did."
This was a game that saw the lead change hands eight times, and the score tied six times.
Jenkins recorded his third straight double-digit performance with 13 points (7-for-7 from the free throw line) along with five assists in 25 minutes of play. Kenny Daniels led the Matadors with 14 points (5-for-6 from the floor) along with five rebounds and two steals. Tremaine Townsend and Rodrigue Mels each chipped in with 13 points.
Townsend led CSUN rebounders with nine. That is now five straight games in which Townsend has led the Matadors in rebounding.
Cal State Northridge held the Gauchos to only .415 shooting (22-for-53) and out rebounded UCSB, 40-32.
The Matadors (8-10 overall, 5-3 Big West) move on to Cal Poly for Big West contest on Saturday, January 31. Game time is 6:00 p.m. The Matadors will be trying to sweep the UCSB/Cal Poly road trip for a second straight season.
The CSUN-Cal Poly game will be televised live on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. Paul Sunderlund and Michael Cage will provide the broadcast chores.
Cal State Northridge, at 5-3 in the Big West, is in sole possession of second place, one-half game back of first place Long Beach State.
Matador Memo ...
It apparently pays to play road conference games ... In other action on Thursday night in the Big West, Cal State Fullerton scored a 61-60 decision at Long Beach State, and UC Irvine recorded a 71-66 road win at UC Riverside ... In addition to CSUN's 72-70 road win at UCSB, road teams, thus far, in conference play have chalked up a 19-14 record ... Rob Haynes and ESPN announcer and former University of Arizona standout Miles Simon have something in common ... Both enjoyed success on the court at Mater Dei High School ... Simon, who offered color commentary on the CSUN-UCSB game on ESPNU, helped lead the Wildcats to the NCAA championship in 1997, while Haynes, a 2004 graduate of Mater Dei, has etched his name into the Top 10 in several three-point categories in the Matador record book, and is enjoying his finest season at CSUN in 2008-09 ... At practice on Wednesday night, Haynes and Simon exchanged several stories about their successes at Mater Dei ... Before Haynes left the game at UCSB with a concussion at the 18:12 mark of the first half, the senior hit a three-pointer, the 17th straight game in which he has hit at least one 3-pointer.