SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Freshman Stephan Hicks scored a team-high 18 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds but it wasn't enough to prevent Cal State Northridge from dropping its third straight game, 72-58 to Santa Clara Saturday night at the Leavy Center.
Despite the efforts of Hicks, who has now led the Matadors in scoring in six of the teams' first seven games, CSUN (1-6) remains winless on the road in four tries this season.
Santa Clara (5-2), which remained unbeaten in four home games, was paced by Kevin Foster's 20 points and six assists.
The Matadors, who led by as many as four points early in the first half, kept it close trailing by only four at the half. After the Broncos scored the first four points of the contest, Hicks made a layup and converted the ensuing free throw to cap an 8-0 Matador run. Freshman Allen Guei contributed CSUN's first five points of the night with a jumper and a three-pointer.
Neither team led by more than four points until Santa Clara got a bucket from John McArthur and a pair of free throws by Evan Roquemore to open up its largest lead of the half 33-25. But Northridge closed the half on a 9-5 run, capped by Hicks' tip-in with four seconds left, to head into the break down 38-34.
Neither team shot particularly well in the half as the Matadors converted 8 of 32 shots (25%) while the Broncos were just 7-24 (29.2%) from the floor.
After a John Hayward-Mayhew miss and a Stephen Maxwell turnover to open the second half, the Broncos' cashed in a three-pointer by Raymond Cowels III to boost the lead to seven (41-34) with 19:13 left on the clock. After Hicks' layup pulled CSUN within four (43-39) with 16:47 left, Santa Clara quickly built the lead back to eight (49-41) on a Foster trey.
The Broncos still led by eight with 13:47 showing on the clock when the two teams went nearly four minutes without scoring. Niyi Harrison made the second of two free throws at the 9:51 mark and the Broncos only extended their lead from that point on, ultimately leading by as many as 17 points in the latter stages of the game.
In addition to Hicks, senior Vinnie McGhee also reached double figures with 11 while Josh Greene chipped in nine points and Guei added eight. The Matadors finished the night shooting 30.6% from the field and were just 9-for-31 from three-point range.
Cal State Northridge returns to action next Saturday, Dec. 10 as the Matadors travel across the Valley to Pepperdine at 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -