Overflow Crowd Watches Cal State Fullerton Defeat Cal State Northridge, 80-72
Northridge, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton is a tough basketball team.
For the eighth straight time, and for the fifth straight year at The Matadome, the visiting Titans continued their dominance over the Matadors with a come-from-behind 80-72 decision over Cal State Northridge on Saturday night.
Even an overflow crowd of 1,632 fans, the largest home crowd in seven years, couldn't help the Matadors from suffering their first home loss of the year (8-1), and their first loss in Big West play. Cal State Northridge still remains atop the league standings at 7-1, but Cal State Fullerton is only one-half game back at 7-2.
The loss dropped the Matadors season record to 15-5 while Cal State Fullerton improved to 14-6.
Cal State Northridge again made its patented second half comeback. Down by eight points, 48-40, with 19:01 to play, the eight-point deficit turned into an eight-point advantage, 60-52, in the next ten minutes. Most visiting teams might have folded, but not Cal State Fullerton. The Titans tied the game at 68-68 with 4:14 to play, and then things got really interesting. Two free throws by Scott Cutley gave the Titans a 71-68 lead with 2:45 on the clock. Back came the Matadors to take a 72-71 lead on two free throws by Jayme Miller and a bucket by Josh Jenkins.
But the Titans outscored Cal State Northridge, 9-0, to end the game with a victory, 80-72. Five of CSF's final 12 points came from Frank Robinson.
Senior all-conference candidate Jonathan Heard led Matador scorers with 13 points followed by Tremaine Townsend with 12, and ten each from Josh Jenkins and Deon Tresvant. Miller collected nine rebounds while Jenkins and Heard each added eight apiece, and Townsend with seven.
Cal State Northridge held Cal State Fullerton to a 40 percent shooting total (26-for-65), 17 percent from behind the arc (4-for-24), forced the visitors into 22 turnovers, but lost the important rebound margin, 51-43.
"You have to give Fullerton credit," said Matador head coach Bobby Braswell. "They were aggressive, very tough tonight, and we just got hurt on the boards."
Despite the loss, Braswell praised the large, boisterous crowd and their support for CSUN Basketball.
"It was a great college atmosphere, a great environment," said Braswell.
The return match will be on Feb. 28 at Cal State Fullerton.
The Matadors now hit the road for two games at Pacific (Feb. 7, 7:00 p.m.) and at UC Davis (Feb. 9, 7:00- p.m.).
"We are still in first place," said Braswell. "We're still in good shape, but there are areas that we need to improve."
Matador Minute ...
The crowd of 1,632 was the first sellout at The Matadome since 1,713 fans watched the Matadors beat Montana State, 85-65, on February 24, 2001 ... Josh Jenkins had eight assists to give him 133 for the season, to move past Darren Matsubara (1988-89, 129), Andre Chevalier (1990-91, 127) and Markus Carr (1998-99, 127) into fifth place for single season assists at CSUN ... Two three-pointers by Deon Tresvant now gives him 60 for the season, good for fifth place for a single season at CSUN ... Jonathan Heard played 36 minutes against the Titans to give him 2,772 minutes for his four-year career to move past Carl Holmes (1997-01, 2,738) into fifth place all-time at Cal State Northridge.