Feb. 11, 2009
By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director (Media Relations)
Northridge, Calif. - Play defense!!! Win Games!!!
That has become the battle cry for the Cal State Northridge men's basketball team as they continue their quest for a Big West regular season championship.
The Matadors put forth another strong defensive effort, and the result was good news for the home team - Cal State Northridge 67, Cal Poly 55 in a Big West Conference game Wednesday night at The Matadome.
It was the fifth straight win for Cal State Northridge and it climbed the Matadors over the .500 mark at 11-10 overall, and 7-3 in the conference.
The victory moved the Matadors into first place in the Big West, a half-game better than Long Beach State which dropped a 73-70 double overtime decision at UC Riverside.
For the third straight game, the Matadors held an opponent to under 40 percent shooting. On this night, Cal Poly could only muster a .385 (20-for-52) shooting percentage, only 19 percent (3-for-16) from three-point territory, were outrebounded, 39-33, and were forced into 15 turnovers. The Matadors also collected nine steals.
In the first half, Cal State Northridge held Cal Poly to only six baskets (6-for-28 for .214), 0-for-8 from behind the arc.
Matador head coach Bobby Braswell took a quick glance at the final box score, and told reporters in the post-game press conference that he was pleased with the team's solid effort.
"We had a great defensive effort in the first half, and I was very pleased with that," said Braswell. "We probably played as well defensively in the first half as we have all season long. We were a little sluggish in the second half, but give credit to Cal Poly. They came out with a different kind of energy."
Braswell said the team reached all its defensive goals, and played unselfishly offensively.
This was a team win. Twelve players played at least nine minutes. Starters Tremaine Townsend and Vincent Cordell picked up two fouls very early in the game. No problem. The Matadors depth came to the rescue. Willie Galick and Tony Osunsanmi came off the bench to play key defensive roles during the remainder of the first half. Galick collected nine of his game-high eleven rebounds in the first half, while Osunsnami played nine minutes in the first half and came up with six rebounds.
Therin Taylor and Rodrigue Mels also played important roles off the bench. Taylor generated nine points, three rebounds and two steals in 17 minutes off the bench. Mels added seven points, three assists and three steals in 19 minutes as a reserve.
"It seems like for the last nine or ten basketball games, we've had somebody down, somebody injured or somebody missing, so we have had to plug and patch as we've moved along through the season. But that is how our system works. We practice that way so if a player goes down, we can continue to fill in that position with a player. Depth is important and this why guys have to come to practice to compete every day."
The Matadors return to action on Saturday for another important league game against UC Riverside. Tipoff is 5 p.m. with the game to be televised on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
Rob Haynes played in his 109th game against Cal Poly which moves him into a tenth place tie all-time at CSUN with Dan Read (1999-03) ... Rob Haynes hit another three-pointer against Cal Poly, the 19th straight game he has hit at least one from behind the arc ... Kenny Daniels led the Matadors tonight against Cal Poly with eleven points ... Daniels also added six rebounds in 21 minutes of play as a starter ... Galick's eleven rebounds gives him 39 for the five games.