Matadors Head to Kentucky to Wrap up Dick's Sporting Goods Preseason NIT Tip-Off

Nov. 20, 2009

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FOR STARTERS The Cal State Northridge men's basketball team (1-2, 0-0 Big West) heads back across the country as the Matadors continue play in the Dick's Sporting Goods Preseason NIT. After opening the tournament against TCU and Texas State in Tempe, Ariz. last week, Northridge heads to Bowling Green, Ky. Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 23-24) to take on Western Kentucky (1-1) and Coastal Carolina (2-1). The Matadors opened the 2009-10 season with an 89-64 loss at No. 7 Purdue and then fell 83-65 against TCU in Tempe. Northridge posted its first win of the season with a hard-fought, come-from-behind 85-82 victory over Texas State. The Matadors have never met either Western Kentucky or Coastal Carolina in the regular season.

THE LAST TIME OUT ..... Trailing Texas State University by five after the first twenty-minute session, the Cal State Northridge Matadors furiously fought back to regain the lead and held on to defeat the Bobcats 85-82 to earn their first win of the season. After leading for most of the first half, the Bobcats went on a 16-5 run to take the lead into the locker room at the half. That lead would remain theirs until the final two minutes of the game when Northridge regained the lead, and never looked back at they connected on timely free throws and crashed the glass to secure rebounds when it counted the most to earn the win. Four Matadors scored in double-digits for Coach Braswell; guard Kenny Daniels led all scorers with 27 points as he shot 10-13 from the field, 3-4 from behind the 3-point line, and made four of his six free throws. Forward Willie Galick finished with 13 points of his own with guards Raymond Cordy and Vinnie McGhee finishing with 12 and 10 points respectively. CSUN finished the evening with their best performance from the field this season as they shot 53.6 % (30-56) inside the arc and connected on 9-18 shots from behind the 3-point line.

MATADORS ON THE NET Both games at Western Kentucky will be broadcast live at GoMatadors.com. Regular analyst Alan Zinsmeister returns to the broadcast table in 2009-10 and will call the games from E.A. Diddle Arena on both Monday (Western Kentucky) and Tuesday (Coastal Carolina). Regular play-by-play man Bill Courtland will return to the Matador broadcasts when Northridge returns home on Nov. 30 to host CSU Bakersfield.

FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAM The Matadors have added plenty of miles to their frequent flyer program just one week into the 2009-10 season. Northridge flew 2,113 miles in traveling to Purdue for the season opener. The Matadors then added 1,727 miles traveling from West Lafayette, Ind. to Tempe, Ariz., before completing the trip with 408 miles from Tempe to Los Angeles. This week, Northridge adds 3,694 round-trip miles in flying to and from Kentucky for a grand total of 7,942 air miles over the first five games of the season. The Matadors will enjoy the comforts of home for two games (CSU Bakersfield and Idaho) on Nov. 30 and Dec. 3 before heading back out for a two-game trip to Washington (Dec. 6) and Denver (Dec. 8).

ABOUT THE PRESEASON NIT TIP-OFF This week's games (Nov. 23-24) in the 25th Dicks's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament feature the 12-teams in the consolation bracket of the tournament. Western Kentucky was chosen as one of three sites to host the consolation rounds. Hofstra and TCU are the other two consolation round sites. Charlotte, Yale and Elon will complete the bracket at Hofstra, while Texas State, Milwaukee and Colgate complete the bracket at TCU. In addition to Northridge, Western Kentucky and Coastal Carolina, Indiana State is the fourth team playing at WKU but will not face the Matadors.

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.

DANIELS PICKS UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF Senior Kenny Daniels (G/F, 6-4, 210, St. Louis, Mo.) has picked up where he left off following the Matadors' NCAA Tournament appearance in 2008-09. Daniels, who was named the Matadors' Most Improved Player by his coaches after last season, is leading Northridge with a 17.0 ppg scoring average after three games. he scored in double figures in 12 of Northridge's final 17 games last season, including a season-high 24 at UC Davis on Mar. 5. After three contests this season, Daniels has posted double figures three times and poured in a career-high 27 in the Matadors' inaugural win of the season over Texas State last Tuesday, Nov. 17. He also owns Northridge season-high's in field goals

NEW FACES IN NEW PLACES Heading into the season the Matadors faced the daunting task of replacing five of their top six scorers from a season ago. welcome in several new faces to begin the 2009-10 season. Juniors Lenny Daniel (F, 6-7, 210, Richmond, Va.) and Kevin Menner (F, 6-6, 205, Brooklyn, NY) played well in the first three games with Menner scoring a team-high 18 points in the season opener at Purdue. After hitting on 8-12 floor shots against the Boilermakers, Menner cooled a bit against TCU (4-for-13, eight points) and Texas State (3-for-5, 8 points). Daniel had six points and five rebounds in his Northridge debut but then nearly posted a double-double with 11 points and eight boards against TCU. Fellow junior Rashaun McLemore (G/F, 6-5, 200, Richmond, Va.), also expected to make an impact in his first season, had eight points and two assists in 19 minutes at Purdue.

NEW FACES, PART II After one game, all 15 players wearing a Northridge uniform have seen at least one minute of playing time. Juniors Aaron Henson (F, 6-6, 220, Corona, Calif.) and Darrell Tripp (F, 6-7, 205, Los Angeles, Calif.) both came on in the later stages of the Purdue game to complete the roster. Several other newcomers made their presence known on the season-opening road trip. Raymond Cody (G, 6-5, 180, Lancaster, Calif.) earned his first collegiate start against Texas State and responded with 12 points (3-for-5 from three-point range) and three rebounds in 16 minutes. Junior Dathan Lyles (G, 5-11, 160, Lima, Ohio) also was named to the starting lineup against Texas State and three points, two assists and two rebounds in 12 minutes. Sophomore Vinnie McGhee (G, 6-0, 165, Oakland, Calif.), who redshirted in 2008-09 after transferring from Sacramento State, added 10 points (4-for5 shooting) off the bench against the Bobcats.

LIZARRAGA EARNS FIRST CAREER START AGAINST TEXAS STATE After coming off the bench for the first 18 games in which he has played for Northridge, junior Michael Lizarraga (F, 6-7, 230, Dixon, Calif.) finally got his name called as a Matador starter against Texas State. Lizarraga, who had a career-high five points off the bench against Purdue, had two points and a pair of rebounds against the Bobcats. For the season, Lizarraga is seventh on the team with seven rebounds (2.3 per game) and is shooting .429 (3-7) from the floor.

DEFENSE LOOKS TO REGROUP Traditionally one of the stronger defensive teams, not only in the Big West but in the country, the Matadors have struggled on the defensive end out of the gate. Northridge is giving up 84.7 ppg while their opponents are shooting a combined 42.9% from the field. Always a solid ball-hawking and rebounding team, the Matadors are being out-rebounded by eight boards (43.7-35.7) per contest and have 26 steals after three games (8.7 per game). Northridge has an impressive history of high-pressure defense and has always been adept at registering steals since Bobby Braswell took the helm for the 1996-97 season. In 2004-05, the Matadors set Northridge single-season records of 340 steals and 11.0 steals per game while finishing its highest ever ranking of second nationally.

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