December 8, 2009

Matadors Wrap Up Two-Game Road Trip Tuesday at Denver

Dec. 8, 2009

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FOR STARTERS On its first of two trips to Colorado this season, the Cal State Northridge men's basketball team (4-4, 0-0 Big West) visits the Denver Pioneers (5-2, 0-0 Sun Belt) for a non-conference game Tuesday at 6 p.m. PST. The Matadors, 0-3 in road games this season, will make a return trip to Colorado in two weeks to battle the Colorado Buffaloes on Dec. 22. Northridge had its season-long, three-game win streak snapped on Sunday as the Matadors fell to No. 10 Washington 88-76. Following Tuesday's game at Denver, Northridge will be off from game action for 10 days before hosting Drexel in The Matadome on Dec. 18.

MATADOR RADIO AT DENVER Alan Zinsmeister, a veteran of Northridge men's basketball broadcasts, will handle the play-by-play and interim Sports Information Director Matt Monroe will add analysis of the Northridge-Denver game from Magness Arena on Tuesday. The broadcast (GoMatadors.com, IBSU.net) will be available five minutes prior to tip-off (5:55 p.m PST).

THE LAST TIME OUT ..... Cal State Northridge took on its second top-10 team in three weeks and the Matadors made it close in the second half before falling 88-76 to the 10th-ranked Washington Huskies before 8,125 at Bank of America Arena. Junior Lenny Daniel paced the Matadors with a career-high 24 points to go with a team-high seven rebounds. Daniel finished the night 8-for-12 from the floor and a perfect 8-for-8 from the foul line. Redshirt-sophomore Vinnie McGhee added 14 points and three assists and junior Kevin Menner chipped in 10 points. Fellow junior Michael Lizarraga also had a solid night scoring a career-high eight points to go with six rebounds and three blocks. The story of the game, however was the Washington rebounding and the fact that the Matadors' two leading scorers Kenny Daniels and Willie Galick combined for eight points on 2-for-9 shooting. Daniels, who came in averaging 19.7 points per game, was double-teamed much of the night and was held to seven points on 2-for-7 shooting. Galick played 16 minutes and was held without a field goal and grabbed just two rebounds. The bigger Huskies out-rebounded the Matadors by a 50-30 margin and had 24 rebounds on the offensive end resulting in 19 second-chance points.

MATADORS AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS Sunday's loss at No. 10 Washington dropped the Matadors to 2-9 against teams ranked in the top-25 since the 2000-01 season. Northridge opened the season against then No. 7 Purdue and dropped an 89-64 decision to the Boilermakers. The last time a Matador team defeated a top-25 squad was March of 2004 when Northridge topped No. 22 Utah State 63-62 in the semifinals of the Big West Conference Tournament.

FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAM After a brief two-game homestand, the Matadors will add to their ever-increasing amount of air miles this weekend. Having already flown 7,942 miles over the first month of the season, Northridge flew to Seattle, Wash., for Sunday's game against Washington then continued on to Colorado for Tuesday's game at Denver. Northridge opened the season with a 2,113-mile trip to Purdue and then added 1,727 miles traveling from West Lafayette, Ind. to Tempe, Ariz. Last week, Northridge added 3,694 round-trip miles in flying to and from Kentucky for a grand total of 11,421 air miles over the first month and a half of the season.

MATADORS IMPROVE TO 39-13 IN HOME OPENERS With Monday's 81-74 victory over CSU Bakersfield, the Matadors improved to 39-13 (.750) all-time in home openers. The win also improved Northridge's record to 13-1 (.929) in home openers under Bobby Braswell. The only loss in a home opener under Braswell came in 2001-02 when Nevada knocked off the Matadors 85-75. The Matadome is becoming an increasingly difficult place for opposing teams as the Matadors are now 32-10 (.762) at home over the last three seasons following Thursday's win over Idaho.

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 681-720 (.486). In 1990-91, Northridge made the move to Division I and has since posted a record of 263-296 (.471).

MATADORS ON THE NET All home games and select road games will be broadcast live at GoMatadors.com and IBSU.net. Both games on the current two-game trip (Washington, Denver) will be broadcast. Bill Courtland, who enters his fourth season with the Matadors, serves as the primary voice of Northridge men's basketball. Also working selected games this season is Alan Zinsmeister, a veteran of Northridge men's basketball broadcasts. Zinsmeister will handle selected road contests and will work alongside Courtland during all home games. Zinsmeister is in his sixth season broadcasting Matador basketball. Cal State Northridge does not have an over-the-air radio package for the 2009-2010 season.

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 SEES DOUBLE FIGURE SCORING STREAK END AT SEVEN GAMES After pouring in a career-high 39 points against Idaho on Thursday, senior forward Kenny Daniels (G/F, 6-4, 210, St. Louis, Mo.) saw his streak of scoring in double figures end at Washington. Daniels was stymied by the 10th-ranked defense of the Huskies and made just 2-of-7 floor shots and 2-of-3 foul shots for a season-low seven points. Daniels, who leads the Matadors in scoring at 18.1 ppg is tied for 69th nationally in points per game. His career-best effort against Idaho is the third-best scoring output in a single game in school history. Only Mark Cooley's 40-points at Cal State Fullerton (2/18/67) and a school record 47 points by Ollie Carter vs Westmont College (2/1/66) are better. Mike Efevberha (vs. Cal State Fullerton, 1-7-06) and Mike O'Quinn (vs. Eastern Washington, 3/5/98) also scored 39 points in a single game. Daniels hit 12-of-17 shorts from the floor, 13-of-15 from the free throw line along to go with 10 rebounds in 39 minutes. The senior scored 21 of the CSUN's 43 first-half points hitting 6-of-8 shots from the floor, and 8-of-8 from the free throw line.

LIZARRAGA ECLIPSES CAREER-HIGHS AGAINST HUSKIES Junior forward Michael Lizarraga (G, 6-7, 230, Dixon, Calif.) continues to start for the Matadors and continues to provide key minutes. The junior forward notched career-highs in points (8), field goals (4), blocks (3) and minutes played (20) against the 10th-ranked Huskies. Lizarraga collected six rebounds against the bigger Huskies, including three on the offensive end largely by out-hustling the Washington players.

DANIEL SHINES AS GALICK RECOVERS With Willie Galick recovering from a case of strep throat, junior Lenny Daniel (F, 6-7, 210, Richmond, Va.) has shined in his first two starts since the opening two games of the season. Daniel had 11 points and eight rebounds but was most impressive on the defensive end where he had five blocks, including one on a dunk attempt by Idaho's 6-10 center Marvin Jefferson. Daniel's block total ties Kevin Taylor for the second-best single game performance in Matador history. On Sunday in front of a FSN Northwest television audience, the junior came through with a career-night with 24 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Equally impressive was that Daniel was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line after coming in as a 53% foul shooter.

MCGHEE CONTINUES SOLID PLAY OFF THE BENCH With Dathan Lyles sidelined with an injury, Vinnie McGhee (G, 6-0, 165, R-So., Oakland, Calif.) had another solid outing as the back-up point guard. After scoring a season-high 19 points in a reserve role against CSU Bakersfield last Monday, McGhee became the first Matador since Rodrigue Mels last March to lead Northridge in scoring off the bench against Idaho. McGhee scored 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting and was a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point land in 17 minutes. At Washington, the sophomore had his second straight 14-point outing hitting on 6-of-13 floor shots while dishing out three assists. McGhee has upped his scoring average to 7.6 ppg (fourth on the team) largely over the last three games.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES The Matadors are now 0-3 in true road contests after Sunday's loss at Washington. Northridge has also lost at Purdue and at Western Kentucky. The Matadors have two wins in three tries on neutral courts, defeating both Texas State and Coastal Carolina and falling to TCU ... 95 points against Idaho is a season-high for the Matadors and the most by a Northridge team since Mar. 5 of last season when Northridge defeated UC Davis 99-72.

SCOUTING THE PIONEERS Denver is 5-2 on the season and has won four of five at home. The Pioneers are shooting 51.3% as a team while scoring 68.6 per game. Denver's only home loss came in its season-opener 71-65 to Northern Iowa. Senior guard Nate Rohnert paces the Pioneers averaging 18.1 points per game while sophomore guard Brian Staford adds 12.1 and junior forward Andrew Hooper adds 11.7 points per game.

SERIES HISTORY Tuesday's game is just the second meeting all-time between Cal State Northridge and Denver. The Matadors defeated the Pioneers in the only previous meeting 80-53 in Northridge last December. Willie Galick had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in the Matador win.

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