April 29, 2009
It is the dream of every college basketball team; to earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament ... Cal State Northridge turned that dream into reality in 2008-09 ... "March Madness" arrived for the Matadors ... The Matadors capped off another winning season with an appearance in the 2009 NCAA Tournament where they faced a formidable opponent in the University of Memphis ... In a game that was seen by millions of fans nationwide on CBS, Cal State Northridge raced to a 9-2 lead, led 62-56 in the second half, but in the end fell to Memphis, 81-70 ... The 2008-09 was filled with many highs ... CSUN was the winner of the 2008-09 Big West regular season conference title for a second straight season and captured the conference tournament to earn an NCAA berth ... In a season filled with enough adversity to write a New York Times best seller, the Matadors overcame tremendous odds to compile a 17-14 record, and an 11-5 mark in the Big West Conference ... CSUN captured the Big West Conference regular season title for a second straight year, their first Big West Tournament title, and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament for a second time in school history.
During the 2008-09 season, Cal State Northridge appeared in its second NCAA Tournament since the school joined the ranks of the NCAA Division I during the 1990-91 season ... The Matadors fought to the end against nationally-ranked Memphis, falling 81-70 in Kansas City, Mo. ... Five CSUN players scored in double figures led by Rodrigue Mels (6-3, 180, Senior, Guard, French Caribbean) with 15 points, Kenny Daniels (6-4, 210, Senior, Forward, St. Louis, Mo) and Tremaine Townsend (6-9, 225, Senior, Center, Phoenix, Az) with 14 points apiece, Mark Hill (5-11, 175, Junior, Guard, Los Angeles, Ca) with 13 digits, and Willie Galick (6-8, 225, RS Junior, Forward, Nanaimo, B.C) with 12 ... Cal State Northridge gained entry to the 2009 NCAA Tournament by virtue of their two victories over UC Santa Barbara (67-60, 3/13/09) and Pacific (71-66, ot, 3/14/09, championship) at the Big West Tournament ... Mels was named Tournament MVP while Townsend was named to the all-tournament team ... During the 2000-01 campaign, 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 in Dayton, Oh ... Forward Jeff Parris came off the bench to score 18 points and grab ten rebounds ... Guard John Burrell also added 16 points in a reserve role.
For the second straight season, Cal State Northridge head coach Bobby Braswell 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 captured the conference rebound title for a second straight season, was named First Team All-League ... Townsend avearged 8.5 rebounds per game ... Townsend was fourth in the league in blocked shots (30, 1.00 bpg), fifth in field goal percentage (.498), and seventh in steals (40, 1.33 spg) ... 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 ... Townsend, who grabbed 22 rebounds in two games at the Big West Tournament, was named to the all-tournament team ... Rob Haynes (6-4, 185, Senior, F/G, Cerritos, Ca) and Josh Jenkins (5-10, 185, Senior, Guard, Albuquerque, NM) were named Honorable Mention All-League ... Haynes, a team captain, shot .414 from three-point territory, fourth-best in the league ... Jenkins was leading the league in assists (134, 6.09 apg) for a second straight year before being seriously injured in a car accident on Feb. 14 ... Rodrigue Mels (6-3, 180, Senior, Guard, French Caribbean, Guadeloupe) gained Big West All-Tournament MVP honors by scoring 51 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in two games ... Vs UCSB (3/13/09) in the semfinals, Mels tallied career-highs in points (28) and rebounds (6).
CSUN led the Big West Conference in several team categories including scoring (73.6 ppg), rebounding (37.1 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.419), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.327), rebound margin (+3.4) and steals (8.94 spg) ... Tremaine Townsend (6-9, 225, Senior, Center, Phoenix, Az) captured the league rebound title (8.5 rpg) for a second straight season ... Rodrigue Mels (6-3, 180, Senior, Guard, French Caribbean) was first in the league in steals (47, 1.52 spg).
During the team's season-high six game winning streak, it proved 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 CS Bakersfield (79-62, 2/5/09), vs Cal Poly (67-55, 2/11/09) and vs UC Riverside (77-64, 2/14/09), CSUN held the opposition to a .377 shooting percentage (119-for-316) and outrebounded the opponents in all six games ... For the season, CSUN was first in the BWC in field goal percentage defense (.419) ... In 14 games this year, CSUN held the opposition to under 40 percent shooting.
Depth certainly played an important role in the team's success ... Players coming off the bench scored in double figures 31 times ... The versatility of the bench enabled CSUN to employ 12 different starting lineups ... Thirteen players started at least one game this year ... Nine players averaged ten minutes per game or more.
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, finished his two-year CSUN career with 537 rebounds, eighth-best in school history ... Townsend also finished third in career blocks (67) and fifth all-time in career rebound average (9.1 rpg) ... Rob Haynes (6-4, 185, Senior, F/G, Cerritos, Ca) played in 119 games in four seasons at CSUN, one short of the school record held by Jonathan Heard (2004-08) ... Haynes also finished second-best in school history in career three-pointers (163), thid-best in three-point attempts (395), fourth-best in career games started (96), sixth all-time in minutes played (2,857), and seventh-best all-time in career three-point field goal percentage (.413, 163-for-395) ... Josh Jenkins (5-10, 185, Senior, Guard, Albuquerque, NM) finished fourth all-time at CSUN in assists (325) ... Rodrigue Mels (6-3, 180, Senior, Guard, French Carribean) finished his two-year Matador career with a free throw percentage of .798 (67-for-84), eighth-best in school history ... Deon Tresvant's (6-0, 170, Senior, Guard, Long Beach, Ca) career three-point field goal percentage of .398 is eighth-best all-time at CSUN, and his 119 three-pointers is tenth-best in school history
Tremaine Townsend (6-9, 225, Senior, Center, Phoenix, Az), a First Team All-Big West Conference selection, attacked the boards to win the conference rebounding title for a second straight season ... In ten games this year, Townsend 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 moved to the top of the rebounding leader board in the conference at 8.5 rpg ... Rob Haynes (6-4, 185, Senior, Guard, Cerritos, Ca), an Honorable Mention All-Big West choice, quietly put together an excellent season in 2008-09 ... Haynes scored in double-digits in 16 of the 30 games he 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, shot .424 (55-for-133) from behind the arc, tops on the team and fourth-best in the Big West Conference ... Haynes made at least one 3-pointer in 28 games ... Kenny Daniels (6-4, 210, Junior, Forward, St. Louis, Mo), like Haynes, also quietly put up some good numbers this year ... A starter in 25 games, Daniels scored in double figures in 12 of his last 17 games to raise his season average to 8.9 ppg ... Daniels scored a career-high 24 points at UC Davis (3/5/09) ... Daniels led the team in field goal percentage (.579, 99-for-171) ... Willie Galick (6-8, 225, RS Junior, Nanimo, BC) finished second on the team in field goal percentage (.577, 105-for-182) and rebounding (5.5 rpg) ... 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, completed his 13th season as head coach of the Cal State Northridge Matadors in 2008-09 ... Braswell has coached 386 games in his duties as head coach, and has produced a record of 205-181 (.531) ... Braswell has guided Cal State Northridge to post-season play in each of his 13 seasons, reaching the conference tournament championship game on five occasions.
Cal State Northridge was on television a school record nine times this year ... In the past two seasons, Matador Basketball has been on television 17 times ... This year's televised games were on CBS (Mar. 19 vs Memphis), ESPNU (Jan. 29 at UCSB, Feb. 18 vs UC Irvine, Mar. 13 vs UCSB, Mar. 14 vs UOP), and Fox Sports Prime Ticket (Dec. 7 at UCLA, Jan. 31 at Cal Poly, Feb. 14 vs UC Riverside, Feb. 28 vs Long Beach State).
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 ... 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.