Down and out

Ivan Yeo

What a difference two weeks make.

Just two weeks ago at the Matadome, the CSUN Matador men’s basketball team grinded out a 76-73 win over the Pacific Tigers. The win marked the first over the Tigers since the 2002-2003 season.

Two weeks later at the Anaheim Convention Center, it was the Tigers who were near flawless, taking control of the game midway through the first half and never looked back, as the Tigers dished out some payback with a 71-54 win in the first round of the Big West Tournament.

Senior center Thomas Shewmake led the Matadors in what turned out to be his final game as a Matador, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Junior forward Calvin Chitwood was the only other Matador in double figures, scoring 13 points.

Reggie Vezia led Pacific with 16 points, 12 of those coming on 4-8 shooting from the three-point line. Steffan Johnson also scored 16 points and Anthony Esparza added 12.

Baskets by Shewmake and senior forward Terrell Jones gave CSUN a 6-4 lead. Pacific countered with back-to-back scores by Esparza and Anthony Brown to put the Tigers back in front. A Jonathan Heard score tied the game at eight, but Pacific soon took control, ripping off an 18-5 run that gave them a 23-13 lead with 8:15 to go in the half.

The Tigers continued to click in the first half, leading by as many as 15 and eventually taking a 38-24 lead into the locker room. The Tigers shot 51.7 percent in the first half, including 4-10 (40 percent) from the three-point line.

Pacific kept its lead at double digits throughout the first eight minutes of the first half. Back-to-back three pointers by Chitwood sliced the Tiger lead to 41-50.

Johnson stopped the surge with a three, Jones scored off his own miss, but Solomon HorseChief answered with a three of his own to keep the lead above double-digits. CSUN tried to stay in the game, but could not get the lead below double digits and Pacific went on a game-killing 10-0 run that gave them a 70-50 lead with 3:09 left.