Defense Carries Matadors To 69-43 Victory Over North Carolina Central
Des Moines, Ia - The Cal State Northridge men's basketball team held North Carolina Central to only 32 percent shooting, forced the Eagles into 31 turnovers and held the opposition to the sixth-lowest scoring total in Matador history in a 69-43 victory in the consolation game of the Drake Iowa Realty Tournament on Saturday night.
It was the lowest number of points given up by the Matadors in 24 years. The 43 points was only five short of the school record set in 1977 against Cal Poly Pomona.
Cal State Northridge also collected a season-high 13 steals, and outrebounded North Carolina Central, 42-32.
Less than 24 hours after suffering their first loss of the season to Duquesne in the opening round of the tournament, the Matadors didn't have much time to regroup to play the consolation game.
"I anticipated that we would have an emotional letdown," said head coach Bobby Braswell, "but we challenged the team before the game to not worry about the offense, but to play defense. We wanted to protect the paint, get defensive stops, get deflections, get turnovers and beat them on the boards. We met all of our goals."
A 5-0 run in the first six minutes, 17 seconds of the game gave the Matadors a 7-2 lead they would never surrender. The lead was built to double-digits at 13-3 at the 9:36 mark on a dunk by Jonathan Heard. Eighteen first-half turnovers by North Carolina Central contributed to CSUN's biggest lead of the first half, 26-13, with 4:59 left.
The first half ended with the Matadors in front, 29-18. North Carolina Central was held to only five first-half baskets in 20 attempts for 25 percent. The Matadors, meanwhile, shot .526 (10-for-19), including 3-of-6 shots from behind the arc.
Cal State Northridge marched out of the locker room after halftime, and scored eight straight points to take a commanding 37-18 lead. Four of those eight points were scored by Paul Wayne. The Eagles could get no closer than 13 points. The Matador lead extended to as many as 26 points, 63-37 with 3:19 to play. The final score ended with the largest margin of victory this year, 26 points in a 69-43 victory.
The decisive victory allowed Braswell to play 13 of his 14 players. Nine CSUN players tallied 14 or more minutes. Eight players that contributed to the win are new to the Matador program.
"With so many new guys, I didn't know what to expect, but the guys are working real hard and learning. We'll take Sunday off, but we will back at it on Monday."
Eleven players scored with Heard and Calvin Chitwood each scoring a team-leading eleven points.
Heard led Matador rebounders with seven followed by Chitwood, Jayme Miller and Rodrigue Mels with six each.
Wayne collected five assists and four steals in 19 minutes of play.
The Matadors finished the road trip with two victories in three games to raise its season record to 5-1.
The Matadors return home on Wednesday (12/5/07, 7:05 p.m.) to host Utah Valley State.
Matador Minute ...
Junior center Tremaine Townsend was named to the all-tournament team ... In the two games, Townsend collected 16 points, 14 rebounds and six steals in 55 minutes of play ... The Matadors are hoping to get home on Sunday, weather permitting ... Because of freezing rain, sleet and snow, the Des Moines Airport was closed on Saturday after two planes slid off the runway.