CSUN men’s basketball on three-game losing streak
A costly offensive rebound and a large disparity in free throws were reasons why the Matadors got swept 2-0 on their Colorado road trip.
Cal State Northridge (2-6) scored more baskets and grabbed more rebounds in each game, but still fell short against Air Force Academy, 72-63, on Thursday and the University of Denver, 66-63, on Saturday.
Northridge out-rebound its opponents 80-52, but only went to the free-throw line 52 times compared to the Falcons and Pioneers combined 75 attempts.
CSUN vs. Denver
After falling behind by nine points, the Matadors cut the Pioneers lead down to three, 63-60, with 25 seconds left in regulation. Freshman Matador Frankie Eteuati extended the game by fouling Chris Udofia to send him to the free throw line with 22 seconds left in regulation.
Udofia made the first free throw but missed the second as Michael Lizarraga grabbed the rebound.
Then senior guard Raymond Cody knocked down a clutch three-pointer from the right corner to bring the score 64-63 with eight seconds left.
CSUN then quickly fouled Denver’s Travis Hallam, who converted on the first free throw. He missed the second, but Northridge failed to get the rebound and ended its chances of a comeback victory.
Denver extended the Matadors losing streak to three games and now lead the all-time series 2-1 over CSUN.
Senior forward Lenny Daniel had a team-high 18 points with eight rebounds and Cody chipped in a season-high 13 points. Senior guard Rashaun McLemore, who is CSUN’s leading scorer, was held scoreless in 11 minutes of play.
Brian Stafford led the way for Denver with 18 points and Chase Hallam contributed 15 points.
CSUN was able to out-rebound Denver 31-22 but had more turnovers (21-15).
The Matadors went 18-of-35 from the field (51.4 percent) compared to the Pioneers 15-of-34 (44.1 percent). CSUN shot 40 percent from 3-point range (4-of-10) and Denver shot 41.7 percent (7-of-17).
CSUN vs. Air Force
The Matadors virtually had an advantage in every statistical category and still lost to the Falcons in their first ever meeting and CSUN’s first game against a military academy (Air Force, Navy, Army).
Northridge went three-point shot crazy as they jacked up 31 three-pointers, which was the sixth most attempts in school history for a single game, and converting on ten for 32.3 percent.
CSUN and Air Force went into halftime tied at 50-50 but the Falcons made sure to pull away in the second half. After Tom Fow’s three-pointer put Air Force up 33-30, the Falcons never relinquished the lead.
Daniel’s jumper tied the score at 33-33, but the Falcons responded with a 9-0 run. However, CSUN was able to pull within three after McLemore drained a 3-pointer to bring the score to 49-46 with nine minutes and 58 seconds left in second half.
Once again Air Force responded as they went on a 5-0 run to increase its lead to eight points.
CSUN continued to stay within striking distance as they cut the Falcons lead to five on three occasions down the stretch.
Air Force then closed the game out after going up by 11 points, its biggest lead of the game, with 13 seconds left in the game.
McLemore scored a team-high 18 points and Daniel recorded a double-double with 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.
The Falcons had four players in double figures with Fow scoring a team-high 22 points.
CSUN finished 7-of-14 from the free-throw line compared to Air Force going 22-of-30 from the charity stripe.
Northridge grabbed 49 rebounds and allowed the Falcons 30 boards.
CSUN returns home to face Cal Lutheran from the Division III level in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Matadors and Kingsmen square off at the Matadome on Tuesday night, at 7:05 p.m.
Northridge defeated Cal Lutheran, 88-67, in exhibition play last season.