Feb. 19, 2011
By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director, Media Relations
Cheney, Wash. - A long, enduring road trip that started at 4 a.m. on Friday ended with a resounding victory at Eastern Washington University on Saturday night.
The whole road saga actually began when Cal State Northridge returned home around 1 a.m. on Thursday after a three-hour bus ride from a Big West contest at Cal Poly.
The Matadors didn't have much time to repack their bags.
Looming ahead was a 4 a.m. departure from the Matador campus on Friday for the day-long excursion to Eastern Washington University (20 miles from Spokane) for a non-league basketball game on Saturday night at Reese Court.
Road weary and quickly putting together a game plan against their opponents, the Matadors simply took care of business.
The Matadors used its entire 13-man lineup. All the parts fit nicely. Starter Lenny Daniel collected his 15th double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds) of the year, Rashaun McLemore scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half while freshman Thomas Jacobs stepped up and put together season-highs in points (10) and rebounds (8) to help Cal State Northridge to a solid 68-59 victory at Eastern Washington.
"We left campus early (4 a.m.) Friday so tonight our guys were a bit sluggish in the first half," said Matador head coach Bobby Braswell. "But we challenged them in the second half. Lenny (Daniel) got into some foul trouble in the second half but the other guys stepped up. Thomas Jacobs (10 points, 8 rebounds) hasn't played much this year. But we met earlier this week and I challenged him on some things. Thomas got his chance tonight and played a great game."
McLemore hit the floor hard in the second half and had to leave the game but came back later in the game to help lead a strong team effort. McLemore scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half.
"Rashaun also stepped up and fought through his hard fall to help the winning cause," said Braswell. "He made some big plays offensively for us when we needed it."
Cal State Northridge held its biggest lead of the game at 50-39 with eleven minutes left in the game. An 11-2 run by Eastern Washington pulled the Eagles to within two points of the Matadors at 52-50 with 8:54 remaining. But Cal State Northridge made its own run of 11-2 to make it 63-52 with 4:20 left. EWU could get no closer than five points.
Nine Matador players played at least ten minutes. "This was an all-around good effort from everybody," beamed Braswell. "No complaints about the effort."
After playing four of its last six games on the road, Cal State Northridge gets to go home. Sunday will begin with a 6 a.m. wakeup call, the bus ride to the airport, and a long flight home back to the Cal State Northridge campus.
Cal State Northridge will end the home season with a Big West Conference game against UC Santa Barbara (2/24/11, 7:05 p.m.). Seniors Raymond Cody, Lenny Daniel, Michael Lizarraga, Dathan Lyles and Rashaun McLemore will be honored for their hard work and dedication to the Matador basketball program.
"It's time to go home and honor our seniors in our last home game," said Braswell. "We've got some momentum going right now. It's time to put some good basketball together."
Homeward Bound!!! .... Home Cooking!!! ... Home Sweet Home!!!
Matador Memo ...
Lenny Daniel continues to inch closer to the career school record in blocks ... With two blocks on Saturday night at Eastern Washington, Daniel now has 75 career blocks, only one short of catching Brian Heinle (1997-01) in third place in the CSUN record book with 76 ... Thomas Shewmake (2003-07) is the school record holder with 82.