Matadors Score Decisive 80-59 Victory at Cal Poly
San Luis Obispo, Ca - The Cal State Northridge men's basketball team recorded its biggest road win ever at Cal Poly with a decisive 80-59 victory in the Big West season opener on Thursday night at Mott Gym.
The 21-point win surpassed the Matador's 73-54 (19 points) verdict at Cal Poly during the 2002-03 campaign. It was also the second biggest conference road win since Cal State Northridge joined the Big West during the 2001-02 season. The school record remains a 94-72 victory (22 points) at UC Davis during the 2004-05 season.
There were plenty of standouts for the Matadors who raised their season record to 9-3 and 1-0 in the Big West. Senior all-conference candidate Jonathan Heard collected his first double-double of the season with 17 points and a season-high eleven rebounds. Calvin Chitwood, another senior all-conference candidate, added 14 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 35 minutes of play. And once again, depth played an important role. Deon Tresvant and Tremaine Townsend came off the bench to combine for 26 points. Tresvant hit 16 points (4-for-9 from behind the arc) and added four assists in 26 minutes. Townsend chalked up ten points, seven rebounds, two steals and a block in 17 minutes.
"During the last off-season, we needed to improve ourselves offensively and defensively," said Braswell. "We have done those things."
Josh Jenkins dished out eleven assists, the third time this year Jenkins has tallied ten or more assists in a game. Jenkins also had three steals in 20 minutes of play.
The Cal State Northridge defense held the Mustangs to only .339 shooting (19-for-56), and .238 from three-point territory (5-for-21). The Matadors, who lead the Big West in rebounding, out rebounded the home team, 43-33. Matador head coach Bobby Braswell said he was pleased with the defensive intensity of the Matadors.
"Any time you go on the road and expect to be a good basketball team, you have to defend," said Braswell. "We have been preaching that all year. The team gave a great defensive effort tonight. We believe we can do some good things offensively, but our success is going to be built on what we do defensively."
Cal State Northridge led from start to finish. The Matadors jumped to a 4-0 lead and extended the margin to 14-4 margin with 13:03 in the first half. Cal Poly could get no closer than five points, while the Matadors built up their largest lead to 15 minutes, 41-26, on a layup by Heard with ten seconds remaining.
The Mustangs, 5-8 overall (0-1 Big West), scored the first ten points of the second half to cut the Matador lead to 41-36. However, Cal State Northridge scored the next seven points to make it 48-36 with 12:43 remaining. The Mustangs could get no closer than eight points, while the Matadors biggest margin of the game was 23 points, three times late in the game.
The victory at Cal Poly was CSUN's fourth in six tries on the road.
The victory now setups a key early conference match up on Saturday night (1/5/08, 7:00 p.m.) at UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos, the pre-season league favorite, earned their 12th victory in 14 games on Thursday night with a 79-64 decision over defending league champion Long Beach State.
Matador Minute ...
With 17 points at Cal Poly, senior all-conference candidate Jonathan Heard has moved up even further on the Matadors career Top-10 scoring list ... Heard now has 1,175 career points to move past Markus Carr (1998-02, 1,173 points) into eighth place all-time ... Senior all-conference candidate Calvin Chitwood had two blocks against Cal Poly to give him 25 for the season, sixth-best in school history ... The Matadors now have won four of the last six games played at Cal Poly.