CSUN men’s basketball wins close game against Northern Illinois

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CSUN's junior guard, Kendall Smith looks to score during the Matadors' 94-75 win over Cal State LA on Oct. 29 at the Matadome. Photo credit: Arpy Zargarian

Taylor Clayton

A late 10-0 run in the second half along with clutch free throws down the stretch gave CSUN (2-2) a 84-82 win Saturday against Northern Illinois (3-1).

The Matadors were led by senior guard Aaron Parks’ 22 points and eight rebounds, as they handed NIU its first loss of the season.

CSUN trailed for most of the game and found themselves down 70-65 with 5:24 left in the second half. A timeout called by head coach Reggie Theus sparked the ten point run that was capped off by the coach’s son, junior forward Reggie Theus Jr., hitting a three-pointer giving CSUN a 75-70 lead, changing the dynamic of the game.

CSUN hit 10 of 11 free throws over the final five minutes of the game, capitalizing on their opportunities from the stripe. Junior forward Tavrion Dawson, who went 7-7 from the line, had 21 points and seven rebounds.

Junior guard Kendall Smith had an off shooting night, going 2-8 from the field, but finished with 15 points as the majority of his scoring came from hitting 11 of his 12 free throw attempts for the game.

The bench scoring played a key factor in the win as well, as CSUN’s bench was able to outscore the Huskies 35-12.

The Matadors got a much needed win to gain some momentum going into the Wooden Legacy Tournament the team will be participating in from Nov. 24-27 at Cal State Fullerton.

The team’s first match-up will be against Texas A&M (2-1) Thanksgiving Day; tip-off will be at 11 a.m.