Matadors Open 52nd Season of Basketball on the Road at No. 7 Purdue

Nov. 11, 2009

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FOR STARTERS The Cal State Northridge men's basketball team is set to open the 2009-10 season this Friday as the Matadors head to West Lafayette, Ind. to take on preseason No. 7 Purdue at 7 p.m. EST. The Matadors, who are coming off their second consecutive Big West regular season championship, finished 17-14 a season ago but will have to replace five of their top six scorers from 2008-09. Conversely, the seventh-ranked Boilermakers return 82.9 of its scoring from last season's 27-10 team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet Sixteen.

MATADORS ON THE NET Friday's game at Purdue will be broadcast on as well as Northridge's regular internet broadcast at Alan Zinsmeister returns to the broadcast table in 2009-10 and will call the game from Mackey Arena on Friday. Bill Courtland will return to the Matador broadcasts when Northridge returns home on Nov. 30 to host CSU Bakersfield.

NEW FACES IN NEW PLACES The Matadors welcome in several new faces to begin the 2009-10 season. Having to replace five of your top six scoring leaders won't be easy but Northridge will attempt to fill the void with juniors Lenny Daniel, Kevin Menner and Rashaun McLemore. Daniel averaged 17.5 points and eight rebounds last season at Coffeyville CC in Coffeyville, KS. Menner averaged 19.3 ppg and 7.9 rpg last season at Saddleback CC in Mission Viejo, CA and McLemore posted a 17.6 scoring average at Frank Phillips College in Borger, TX. The three will attempt to fill the scoring void left by the graduation of Tremaine Townsend, Rob Haynes and Rodrigue Mels.

EXHIBITION RECAP In winning their two exhibition games (88-67 over Cal Lutheran, 78-61 over The Master's College), the Matadors averaged 83.0 ppg while giving up just 64.0 ppg. Daniel led Northridge averaging 18.5 ppg to go with 6.5 rebounds per contest. Willie Galick (15.0), Kenny Daniels (12.0) and Menner (11.0) also averaged double figures in the two games. As a team, Northridge shot 51.7% (60-116) from the field and were 4-for-19 (.211) from beyond the three-point arc. The Matadors converted just 42 of 69 (.609) free throws in the exhibition season but did out-rebound their two opponents by an average of 48.0 to 32.0.

NIT JUST AROUND THE CORNER Following Friday's game at Purdue, the Matadors will fly directly to Arizona to set up shop for the Dicks's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament which begins Monday, Northridge (unseeded) opens the tournament against seventh-seeded TCU and will take on either fourth-seeded Arizona State or Texas State on Tuesday. Depending on those results, the Matadors will advance to the winners bracket (Nov. 25-27 in New York) or the consolation bracket (Nov. 23-24 at sites to be determined).

ROAD OPENERS NOT EXACTLY A RARITY Not since the 2006-07 season has a Cal State Northridge team opened a season on the road. Last season, the Matadors defeated Cal Lutheran (73-62) in The Matadome and in 2007-08, Northridge topped Chicago State (96-85) at home. But in Bobby Braswell's 13 previous seasons at the helm, the Matadors have opened on the road eight times, most recently in 2006 when Northridge defeated Portland State (90-65) in the opening game of the Basketball Traveler's Classic in Eugene, Ore. Since Braswell took over in 1996-97, the Matadors are 7-6 in season openers, with possible the most memorable win coming in 2005-06 when Northridge topped USC in overtime 81-76 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

52ND SEASON OF NORTHRIDGE BASKETBALL The 2009-10 season marks the 52nd season of Cal State Northridge basketball. Since the program's inception in 1958-59, the Matadors have posted an all-time record of 677-715 (.486). In 1990-91, Northridge made the move to Division I and has since posted a record of 259-291 (.471). Since 2004-05 the Matadors are 80-71 (.529).

NORTHRIDGE ON THE TUBE The Matadors will make five (possibly seven) regular season television appearances during the 2009-10 season. Northridge will make its Fox Sports debut on Dec. 6 when the Matadors take on the Washington Huskies on FSN Northwest. The Northridge-Colorado contest on Dec. 22 will be on FSN Rocky Mountain before the Matadors will make three (possibly five) appearances as part of the Big West television package. Northridge will appear on FSN West on Feb. 6 (at Long Beach State), Feb. 17 (Cal Poly) and Feb. 27 (at UC Irvine). The Matadors could also be selected among wild card games on Jan. 30 and Feb. 24.