March 13, 2009
Anaheim, Calif. - The top-seeded Cal State Northridge men's basketball team finally knows their opponent in the semifinals of the Big West Tournament on Friday (5:30 p.m.) at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The Matadors will face fourth-seeded UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos earned their way to the semifinals with a 73-64 victory over seventh-seeded Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night. Five UCSB players scored in double figures led by reserve guard James Nunnally with 15 points (3-for-3 from the floor, 8-for-8 from the free throw line), five rebounds and three assists in 25 minutes of play. First team all-league selection Chris Devine added 14 points, six rebounds and two steals.
UC Santa Barbara shot .500 (21-for-42) from the floor while holding the Titans to only .333 (17-for-51) shooting.
UC Santa Barbara, 16-14, has now four straight games and eight of their last nine games.
Cal State Northridge won both meetings against the Gauchos this year. On January 29 on UCSB's home floor, The Thunderdome, the Matadors recorded a 72-70 victory. Vincent Cordell scored the winning basket with eleven seconds to play. Cordell started his first collegiate game against UCSB and responded with seven rebounds.
Four CSUN players scored in double figures in the first meeting at UCSB. Kenny Daniels led the offensive attack with 14 points and five rebounds. Tremaine Townsend, Josh Jenkins and Rodrigue Mels each added 13 points. Townsend led Matador rebounders with nine. Devine led UCSB with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Gaucho guard James Powell chipped in with 14 points, four rebounds and four assists.
In the second meeting of the year (2/25/09) at The Matadome, Mels came off the bench to score a career-high and game-high 19 points along with five rebounds in a 62-57 Matador victory. Daniels added 13 points and nine rebounds.
Friday's game against UC Santa Barbara will be televised on ESPNU ... If Cal State Northridge wins, the Matadors will advance to the championship game on Saturday (3/14/09) at 9:00 p.m. against either second-seeded Long Beach State (15-14) or third-seeded Pacific (18-11) ... LBS and UOP will play at 7:30 p.m. ... UC Santa Barbara holds a 27-10 lead in the series against Cal State Northridge ... Both teams have only played two games on neutral territory with each team recording a victory ... Their last neutral court game saw the Matadors score a 61-58 victory (3/1/04) during second round action at the 2004 Big West Tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center.