Cal State Northridge Aims For Big West Tourney Title & NCAA Berth
March 12, 2009
It is the dream of every college basketball team; to earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament ... Cal State Northridge is only two wins away from that reality ... "March Madness" is within sight ... The Matadors, winners of the 2008-09 Big West regular season title for a second straight season, has earned an automatic berth to the semifinals of the league tournament on Friday, March 13, at 5:30 p.m. at the Anaheim Convention Center ... If the Matadors win their semifinal game, they will advance to the Big West Conference championship game on Saturday, March 14, at 9:00 p.m ... The championship game will be televised on ESPN2 ... By virtue of their regular season league title, Cal State Northridge is assured of at least an automatic berth in the NIT.
Two wins at the Big West Tournament and the Matadors will be heading to the NCAA Tournament ... If the Matadors make the NCAA Tourmament, it will be for the second time in school history since Cal State Northridge joined the ranks of NCAA Division I ... During the 2000-01 season, CSUN, then a member of the Big Sky Conference, won the league tournament, and advanced to the "Big Dance" where it lost a 99-75 decision to #12 Kansas ... The Matadors are 4-7 in the Big West Tournament ... Their best showing was during the 2003-04 season when they beat Cal State Fullerton (80-70), UC Santa Barbara (61-58), #22 Utah State (63-62), but lost a 75-73 decision to Pacific in the championship game.
For the second straight season, Cal State Northridge head coach Bobby Braswell has earned Big West Conference Coach of the Year honors ... Braswell coached the Matadors to their first outright Big West title in 2008-09 ... It also marked back-to-back championships for Braswell, who coached Cal State Northridge to a share of the crown last year with Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara ... Tremaine Townsend (6-9, 225, Senior, Center, Phoenix, Az), who is trying to win the conference rebound title for a second straight season, was named First Team All-League ... Townsend is currently averaging 8.3 rebounds per game ... Townsend is fourth in the BWC in blocked shots (27, 1.00 bpg), fifth in field goal percentage (.492), eighth in steals (36, 1.33 spg) and 13th in scoring (11.1 ppg) ... Townsend is the fourth player in Matador history to gain First Team All-Big West Conference honors ... Markus Carr (2001-02), Ian Boylan (2004-05) and Jonathan Heard (2007-08) are the other three players to join that exclusive list ... Rob Haynes (6-4, 185, Senior, F/G, Cerritos, Ca) and Josh Jenkins (5-10, 185, Senior, Guard, Albuquerque, NM) were named Honorable Mention ... Haynes, a team captain is shooting .438 from three-point territory, third-best in the league ... Jenkins leads the Big West in assists (134, 6.09 apg) for a second straight year.
Cal State Northridge continues to occupy the #1 position in several team categories in the Big West Conference including scoring (74.1 ppg), rebounding (37.3 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.418), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.323) and steals (8.96 spg) ... Cal State Northridge remains second in the Big West in scoring margin (+3.7), and rebounding margin (+3.4).
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 ... For the season, the Matadors are first in the Big West Conference in field goal percentage defense (.418) ... In 13 games this year, CSUN has held the opposition to under 40 percent shootng.
Depth has certainly played an important role in the team's recent success ... Players coming off the bench have scored in double figures 28 times ... The versatility of the bench has enabled Cal State Northridge to employ 12 different starting lineups ... Thirteen players have started at least one game this year ... Ten players are averaging 10.5 minutes per game or more.
Tremaine Townsend (6-9, 225, Senior, Center, Phoenix, Az) , #1 in the Big West Conference in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and the defending conference rebound champion, is approaching the school's Top 10 list for career rebounds ... Townsend has 506 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 116 games in four seasons at CSUN, four short of the school record held by Jonathan Heard (2004-08).
Tremaine Townsend (6-9, 225, Center, Phoenix, Az), a First Team All-Big West Conference selection, continues to attack the boards in an attempt to win the conference rebounding title for a second straight season ... 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 8.3 rpg ... Townsend is averaging 11.3 ppg, second-best on the Matadors ... Rob Haynes (6-4, 185, Senior, Guard, Cerritos, Ca), an Honorable Mention All-Big West choice, has quietly put together an excellent season in 2008-09 ... Haynes has scored in double-digits in 15 of the 26 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 .441 (52-for-118) from behind the arc, tops on the team and third-best in the Big West Conference ... Haynes has made at least one 3-pointer in 25 straight games ... 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 21 games, Daniels has scored in double figures in eleven of his last 14 games to raise his season average to 8.8 ppg ... Daniels scored a career-high 24 points in his last game at UC Davis (3/5/09) ... Daniels leads the team in field goal percentage at .586 (85-for-145).
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 11.3 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 8.3 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 seventh in steals (30, 1.36 spg) ... However, Jenkins suffered injuries in a recent automobile accident and his season has 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 and 2008-09 Big West Coach of the Year, is in his 13th season as head coach of the Cal State Northridge Matadors ... Braswell has coached 383 games in his duties as head coach, and has produced a record of 203-180 (.530) ... 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.
Josh Jenkins (5-10, 185. Senior, Guard, Albuquerque, NM) is continuing to recover at home after suffering serious 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 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 able to join his teammates on the bench at Matador home games ... Jenkins, who was named an Honorable Mention All-Big West selection, is still leading the Big West in assists (134, 6.1 apg).
In its pre-season college basketball issue, Sports Illustrated predicted a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the Matadors ... 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.
The 77-64 victory over UC Riverside (2/14/09) was the tenth straight over the Highlanders ... During that time, CSUN has won five straight games on UCR's home court ... During the 13-year tenure of head coach Bobby Braswell, CSUN has played at least one Pac-10 team during the season eleven times ... During the 2008-09 campaign, two Pac-10 teams (Stanford, UCLA) were 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 guard Josh Jenkins, who was an all-state prep player at Valley High School ... When CSUN played at Drexel (Dec. 1 in Philadelphia, Pa), it was only the second time in the 51-year history of the basketball program that CSUN played in the state of Pennsylvania ... During the 2004-05 season, CSUN 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.