Feb. 27, 2009
They are all "big games" but the Cal State Northridge vs Long Beach State basketball game on Saturday (February 28, 3:00 p.m.) bears special significance ... Both teams are tied for first place in the Big West Conference at 9-4 ... It's also Senior Day in which Cal State Northridge honors its graduating players after the game ... It's the final home regular season game of the year at The Matadome ... The Matadors are 9-2 at The Matadome, and have won six straight games on its home court.
Cal State Northridge, with three league games remaining, is hoping to secure one of the two top seeds that will receive automatic byes to the semifinals at the upcoming Big West Tournament (March 11-14) at the Anaheim Convention Center ... The Big West Tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the 2009 NCAA Tournament ... At the moment, both Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State occupy first place in the regular season conference standings which, if the conference season ended today, both teams would receive automatic byes to the conference semifinals.
Josh Jenkins (5-10, 185. Senior, Guard, Albuquerque, NM) has been released from the California Medical Center in Los Angeles and recovering at home after suffering injuries in a single car accident on February 14 ... Jenkins was a passenger in the vehicle ... The driver in the accident was killed ... Jenkins' injuries will probably keep him out of action for the remainder of the season ... "Obviously, we're thankful that Josh is alive," said head coach Bobby Braswell ... "This is a big blow to our team at this point of the season, but more importantly he's alive and we pray that he will have a speedy and full recovery." ... Jenkins was leading the Big West in assists (134, 6.1 apg) and was one of the team's leading scorers (10.2 ppg) ... Jenkins was able to join his teammates on the bench in CSUN's 62-57 victory over UC Santa Barbara (2/25/09).
The recent season-high six game winning streak proves that defense wins games ... Following a 91-87 loss to Cal State Fullerton (1/21/09), head coach Bobby Braswell made it very clear to the Matadors that "DEFENSE wins games" ... In wins over UC Irvine (74-55, 1/24/09), at UCSB (72-70, 1/29/09), at Cal Poly (79-68, 1/31/09), vs Cal State Bakersfield (79-62, 2/5/09), vs Cal Poly (67-55, 2/11/09) and vs UC Riverside (77-64, 2/14/09) ... During that time, CSUN held the opposition to a .377 shooting percentage (119-for-316) and outrebounded the opponents in all six games.
Depth has certainly played an important role in the team's recent success ... Players coming off the bench have scored in double figures 23 times ... The versatility of the bench has enabled Cal State Northridge to employ eleven different starting lineups ... Thirteen players have started at least one game this year ... Ten players are averaging 10.9 minutes per game or more.
Cal State Northridge is ranked first in several team categories in the Big West Conference including rebounding (37.6 ppg), field goal pct. defense (.421), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.324) and steals (8.80 spg) ... Cal State Northridge remains second in the Big West in scoring margin (+2.5( and rebounding margin (+3.5).
Tremaine Townsend (6-9, 225, Senior, Center, Phoenix, Az) , #1 in the Big West Conference in rebounding (8.5 rpg) and the defending conference rebound champion, is approaching the school's Top 10 list for career rebounds ... Townsend has 487 rebounds ... Jeff Parris (1997-01) resides in tenth place with 524 caroms ... Rob Haynes (6-4, 185, Senior, F/G, Cerritos, Ca) has played in 113 games in four seasons at CSUN, seven short of the school record held by Jonathan Heard (2004-08).
Long Beach State is 14-12 overall and 9-4 in the Big West ... Senior guard Donovan Morris is the team's leading scorer (15.6 ppg) ... Guard Larry Anderson (11.1 ppg), guard Stephan Gilling (10.9 ppg), and forward T.J. Robinson (10.5 ppg) are the team's other double-digit scorers ... Robinson leads the team in rebounding (6.2 rpg).
Long Beach State holds a 26-19 advantage over Cal State Northridge ... In their first meeting of the year (1/17/09), the 49ers prevailed over CSUN, 74-68, on the 49ers home court ... Donovan Morris led the LBS attack with 22 points and seven rebounds ... Four CSUN players scored in double figures led by Kenny Daniels (6-4, 210, Junior, Forward, St. Louis, Mo) with 15 points ... Tremaine Townsend (6-9, 225, Senior, Center, Phoenix, Az) collected 12 points and a season-high 16 rebounds ... CSUN has beaten LBS five of the past six years at The Matadome, including a 100-61 decision last year.
Tremaine Townsend (6-9, 225, Center, Phoenix, Az) continues to attack the boards in an attempt to win the conference rebounding title for a second straight season ... In the last 12 games, Townsend has grabbed 120 rebounds (10.0 rpg) including a season-high 16 boards at Long Beach State (1/17/09) and 15 rebounds against UC Irvine (1/24/09) ... In eight games this year, Townsend has grabbed double-digits in rebounds ... Last year, Townsend became the first player in CSUN history to lead the league in rebounding (9.9 rpg) ... This season, Townsend has moved to the top of the rebounding leading board in the conference at 8.5 rpg ... Townsend is averaging 10.9 ppg, second-best on the Matadors ... Rob Haynes (6-4, 185, Senior, Guard, Cerritos, Ca) has quietly put together an excellent season in 2008-09 ... Haynes has scored in double-digits in 14 of the 24 games he has played including a career-high 18 points (6-for-8 from the floor, 4-for-6 from behind the arc) at Cal State Fullerton (12/29/08) and another 18 points against UC Davis (1/5/09) ... Haynes, a team captain, is shooting .438 (49-for-112) from behind the arc, tops on the team and fourth-best in the Big West Conference ... In his last 16 games, Haynes has hit 38-of-80 shots from behind the arc for .475 ... Haynes has made at least one 3-pointer in 23 straight games ... Junior forward Kenny Daniels (6-4, 210, Junior, Forward, St. Louis, Mo), like Haynes, has also quietly put up some good numbers this year ... A starter in 20 games, Daniels has scored in double figues in nine of his last 12 games to raise his season average to 8.0 ppg ... Daniels is among the team leaders in shooting at .579 (73-for-126).
With Deon Tresvant (6-0, 170, Senior, Guard, Long Beach, Ca) indefinitely away from the team tending to legal matters, Tremaine Townsend (6-9, 225, Senior, Forward, Phoenix, Az) has taken over the scoring lead among active players at 10.9 ppg (#11 in the BWC) ... Townsend posted career-highs in points (25) and field goals (11) in a recent game against UC Davis (1/5/09) ... Townsend stands on top in rebounds at 8.5 per game (#1 in the BWC) ... Josh Jenkins (5-10, 185, Senior, Albuquerque, NM) is #1 in the Big West in assists (134, 6.09 apg) and fourth in steals (30, 1.36 spg) ... However, Jenkins suffered injuries in a recent automobile accident and his season has probably come to an end ... Mark Hill (5-11, 175, Junior, Los Angeles, Ca) tallied a career-high seven steals at Idaho, the most by a Matador player in nine years.
Bobby Braswell, the 2007-08 Big West Coach of the Year, is in his 13th season as head coach of the Cal State Northridge Matadors ... Braswell has coached 380 games in his duties as head coach, and has produced a record of 201-179 (.529) ... Braswell has guided Cal State Northridge to post-season play in each of his 12 seasons, reaching the conference tournament championship game on four occasions ... In past seasons under Braswell, the Matadors have prided themselves on tough defense and a productive offense ... Last year, the Matadors forced the opponents into 557 turnovers, produced 274 steals (#1 in the Big West, #15 in the nation), and outrebounded the opposition, 1,113-1,092 ... Braswell's teams have been ranked in the Top 25 in steals nationally in eleven of the last 12 seasons.
In its pre-season college basketball issue, Sports Illustrated has predicted a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the Matadors ... This recognition is just the latest in a series of lofty predictions for the 2007-08 Big West regular season tri-champions ... Cal State Northridge was ranked 25th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 pre-season poll ... The Matadors generated 118 points, and was only one of four teams from the West to be ranked in the Top 25 among mid-major teams ... The other west teams were Gonzaga (#1, 754 points), St. Mary's (#3, 616 points), and San Diego (#8, 481 points) ... For the first time in school history, the Matadors received a vote in the pre-season Associated Press men's basketball poll ... Cal State Northridge was the only school from the Big West Conference to receive a vote in the Associated Press pre-season poll.
All four seniors on last year's 20-10 Matador team are doing just fine ... Calvin Chitwood is playing professional basketball in Japan, while Jayme Miller is playing professionally in Holland, while Jonathan Heard is playing professionally in Finland ... Rai Colston is an assistant basketball coach at Chaminade High School in Woodland Hills ... Chitwood is playing for Niigata Albirex BB ... Chitwood, a four-year starter, ended his CSUN career as the school's #10 all-time leading scorer (1,170 points) ... Heard, who ended his four-year Matador career as the school's #3 all-time leading scorer (1,362 points) and #9 all-time rebounder (534), is playing for Team LoKoKo in Finland ... Miller, who started all 30 games in 2007-08, and provided strength and leadership during his senior season, is playing for Aris Friesland (Holland) in the Dutch Professional League ... During their tenure at Cal State Northridge, Chitwood, Heard, Miller and Colston combined to play 350 games, score 3,065 points, and grab 1,311 rebounds.
The 77-64 victory over UC Riverside (2/14/09) was the tenth straight over the Highlanders ... During that time, the Matadors have won five straight games on UCR's home court ... During the 13-year tenure of head coach Bobby Braswell, Cal State Northridge has played at least one Pac-10 team during the season eleven times ... During the 2008-09 campaign, two Pac-10 teams (Stanford, UCLA) are on the schedule, the sixth time during Braswell's tenure he has played two Pac-10 teams in a season ... The game at New Mexico (Nov. 24, 7:00 p.m.) was a trip home to Albuquerque for senior point-guard Josh Jenkins, who was an all-state prep player at Valley High School ... When Cal State Northridge played at Drexel (Dec. 1 in Philadelphia, Pa), it was only the second time in the 51-year history of the basketball program that the Matadors played in the state of Pennsylvania ... During the 2004-05 season, Cal State Northridge played at Lafayette (Easton, Pa) ... The game at New Mexico (11/24/08) was the second trip to "The Pit" for head coach Bobby Braswell ... In 1983, as a high school coach, Braswell witnessed the classic game between North Carolina State and Houston with the Wolfpack (coached by Jim Valvano) scoring a last second basket to win the NCAA title.