CSUN Stages Remarkable Comeback vs Austin Peay, 80-77 Overtime Win

Box Score - Cal State Northridge vs Austin Peay

By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletics Director, Strategic Communications

Mt. Pleasant, Mich. –
That thunderous applause and cheers of victory from the Cal State Northridge locker room could be heard from Mt. Pleasant, to Flint, to Grand Rapids, to Saginaw and down to Detroit.

The Matadors had just staged a remarkable comeback to record an impressive, hard-earned, well-deserved 80-77 overtime team victory over Austin Peay University at the Central Michigan University Tournament on Friday night at McGuirk Arena.

CSUN looked sluggish at the start as the Governors raced to a quick 7-0 lead after only two minutes. Austin Peay increased its lead to 12 points (20-8) at the 13:50 stage of the first half.

Cal State Northridge never led in the first half. APU held a 37-31 halftime advantage, but Matador head coach Reggie Theus remained confident of victory.

"We were only down by six points at halftime," said Theus. "I told the team we were in a great position to win this game. We had to make some shots by going to the basket. Plus we had great efforts from guys coming off the bench like Trevone Williams (seven points, three rebounds in 19 minutes) along with Aaron Parks (five points, two assists, two steals in 19 minutes)."

The Governors maintained their lead until the 15:44 of the second half. A three-pointer by Landon Drew tied the score at 43-43 with 16:05 to play.

The momentum and the excitement of the game reached a higher level.

Back came Austin Peay. The Governors outscored the Matadors, 10-3, in the next 3:30 to take a 53-46 advantage.

With 9:48 to play, APU held what seemed to be a secure 60-52 lead.

Cal State Northridge refused to fold. CSUN outscored APU, 11-3, in the next four minutes to again tie the game, 63-63.

Then with 5:26 remaining in the game, Cal State Northridge took the lead for the first time. A Josh Greene jumper sailed through the nets followed by a Greene layup.

The score read, Cal State Northridge 67, Austin Peay 63 with 5:08 on the clock.

Back came Austin Peay to take a 68-67 lead at the 3:14 mark.

Back came Cal State Northridge. The Matadors displayed the courage of a champion. A three-pointer by Greene and a basket by Stephen Maxwell with the help of a free throw gave CSUN the lead again, 73-68. The clocked showed 2:07 remaining.

Back came Austin Peay with five straight points to tie the game at 73-73 with 57 seconds remaining.

After a CSUN turnover with 46 seconds left, Austin Peay missed three straight shots at the basket as the clock hit zero.

Regulation ended … Cal State Northridge 73, Austin Peay 73.

The extra period started with Stephen Maxwell on the bench. Maxwell tallied his 17th career double-double with 18 points and eleven rebounds but fouled out with 1:19 remaining in regulation.

Good teams have players who step up in a crisis. Enter Stephan Hicks and Josh Greene. Hicks hit 12-of-12 free throws including four critical charity tosses in overtime. Greene, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored 14 points (12 in the second half, two in overtime).

Hicks ended the game with a season-high 24 points, eight rebounds and two steals in 41 minutes.

"Hicks played out of position at the four (power forward) position the last four minutes of the game and came up with two huge rebounds along with two crucial free throws to help win the game for us," said Theus

Four Matador starters played at least 34 minutes.

'When you're short handed but your reserves come into the game to help the team, it helps everybody else," said Theus. "I subbed early to give our starters some rest because we needed them to finish the game."

The victory raised CSUN's season record to 3-2. Austin Peay fell to 2-3.

"I am proud of our guys," beamed Theus. "As mad as I was at the guys last night (74-73 win over Montana State), I am so proud of them today. This is what we always talk about; winning is a learning process. They (Austin Peay) shot 37 free throws compared to 25 for us plus two players (Stephen Maxwell, Trevone Williams) fouled out. We turned the ball over but we did what we needed to do down the stretch."

Saturday night at 7:30 pm, et (4:30 pm, pt), the Matadors finish play at the Central Michigan Tournament with a game against the home team, the Chippewas. Central Michigan is 2-3 after suffering a 59-54 upset loss to Montana State on Friday night.

Matador Memo …
Josh Greene had a career-high five steals against Austin Peay … Stephan Hicks' 12-of-12 free throw effort against APU ties the school record for free throw percentage (1.000) in a game … The 12 free throws was also a career-best for a game for Hicks.