A quick start for Washington proved too much to overcome as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (3-7) dropped a 74-51 decision to the Huskies (6-5) on Thursday night at Alaska Airlines Arena. The game was the final non-conference tune-up for Northridge before opening Big West Conference play next week at The Matadome.
The Huskies raced out to an early 10-0 lead before freshman Stephan Hicks knocked down a pair of free throws for the Matadors with 17:16 left in the first half. Free throws kept Northridge in the game for much of the first 20 minutes as the Matadors went 11-for-16 from the line.
The Matadors had trouble in the first half converting chances from the floor (4-for-25) despite having more points off of turnovers (8-7).
"Washington defended us well," said head coach Bobby Braswell. "If they're getting stops on us defensively it makes it a lot easier on them."
The second half proved much better than the first for Northridge, as the Matadors shot 31 percent from the floor and were a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line. Hicks scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the last 20 minutes.
A bright spot for the Matadors was Stephen Maxwell, who matched his season high with 11 rebounds after routinely matching up with Washington players at least three inches taller. He added nine points including 5-for-6 from the line in 24 minutes.
"I was really happy to see Stephen respond out there tonight and rebound the ball," said Braswell. "It was really good to see him step up. He is a big-time athlete."
Although the Matadors lost the game, they were able to close the night on a 15-3 run, allowing just one basket and a free throw over the last seven minutes of action. Allen Jiles IV led the Northridge defense during the run, recording two steals, a block, and a fast break layup.
"I told Allen after the game that I thought he played really well during that stretch," said Braswell. "He was getting rebounds and moving around the post as well as attacking the rim."
Jiles ended the night by matching his season high of four points and set a new career high with three steals. Hicks finished the night with 13 points and six rebounds, extending his streak of consecutive games with at least 10 points to 10 games.
As a team, the Matadors shot 82 percent (23-for-28) from the free throw line compared to 62 percent (13-for-21) for Washington. Northridge shot 24 percent (13-for-54) from the field while the Huskies ended at 46 percent (28-61).
The Matadors return to action on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 with their Big West Conference opener against UC Irvine. The game is the second of a doubleheader with the women's basketball team (4 p.m.) and tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.