Cal State Northridge Remains Unbeaten With 78-68 Road Victory Over Cleveland State
Cleveland, Oh - Cal State Northridge men's basketball head coach Bobby Braswell had never been to Cleveland until Wednesday night's contest against Cleveland State.
"We didn't come here to sight see, we came here to win," as he told reporters after the Matadors extended their won-loss record to 4-0 with a hard-fought 78-68 victory over a tough Cleveland State team.
It is the best season-opening start since the 1983-84 campaign.
Once again, depth played an important role in the Matador victory. Braswell is confident with the talented depth he has in 2007-08, and Wednesday, junior center Tremaine Townsend and point-guard Josh Jenkins came off the bench to propel the team to victory. Townsend, playing in only his fifth Division I basketball game, tied his career-high with 16 points and established a new career mark in rebounding with 15 in 35 minutes off the bench. Jenkins played 24 minutes in a reserve role and responded with 14 points and seven assists in 24 minutes.
Braswell used ten players, and eight played ten or more minutes.
"We have six or seven players who can score in double figures," said Braswell, "and tonight we had four players who scored in double-digits. We are very hard to defend because we have so much depth. It is more than I have had in recent years."
The Matadors set several goals before each game, and several were accomplished against the Vikings. The CSUN defense held Cleveland State to 41 percent shooting, collected 33 deflections and allowed only 23 percent shooting for the Vikings from three-point range. The only goal not set was the rebound edge, falling one short of the Cleveland State tally, 41-40.
"I told the team this game would be a grinder," said Braswell. "But we played with composure, hit some key baskets, and played defense."
Cal State Northridges' biggest lead of the first half was eight points, 18-10 (7:43), but a gritty Viking team wouldn't fold, scoring eleven straight points in the next two minutes, 31 seconds. Cleveland State extended the lead to as many as five points, 31-26, with 35 seconds left in the first half. However, Chitwood hit a crucial three-point basket to cut the Viking lead to 31-29 at halftime.
Cleveland State maintained the lead until 12:53 of the second half when Deon Tresvant hit a three-pointer to give the Matadors a 45-44 lead. The lead grew to ten points, 67-57, with 4:02 to play.
Cleveland State cut the lead to 67-61, but Chitwood hit a crucial three-pointer at 2:13 to make it 70-61.
Back came Cleveland State with 34 seconds remaining on a three-pointer to make it 74-68, Back came Cal State Northridge with two free throws by Chitwood and two more by Jenkins down the stretch to seal the victory, 78-68.
Chitwood led Matador scorers with 22 point and added seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals in 34 minutes of play. Jonathan Heard tallied ten points, four rebounds and four assists in 30 minuts.
Thursday will be a day of travel for Cal State Northridge. The team will depart Cleveland for Des Moines, Iowa, for the Drake Iowa Realty Tournament on Friday and Saturday. On Friday (11/30/07) at 5:00 p.m. (ct), the Matadors will face unbeaten Duquesne (5-0). Duquesne is second in the nation (92.5 ppg) in scoring.
Matador Minute ...
With ten points tonight against Cleveland State, senior all-conference candidate Jonathan Heard now has 1,085 points to move into tenth place all-time on the Matador scoring list ... Heard now has 67 career starts which places him in a tie for tenth all-time at Cal State Northridge with Brooklyn McLinn (1989-94) ... Senior all-conference candidate Calvin Chitwood had three blocks against the Vikings which gives him 41 for his career and moves him into sixth place all-time on the CSUN list ... Chitwood started the evening in eighth place with 38 but moved pass Jeff Parris (1997-01, 40) and Pat Bolden (1984-88, 39).