David J. Hawkins
Legendary UCLA coach John Wooden was once quoted saying, “Failure is never fatal. But failure to change can and might be.”
The Matadors could have used coach Wooden’s advice, as they capped off their Cal Stat Fullerton trip with a loss to Portland, 96-78 on Sunday. CSUN (2-5) finished the tournament in last place, with all three of their loses coming by double-digits.
Junior guard Darin Johnson scored a team-high 16 points in the loss. Fellow guard and senior Aaron Parks had 15 points and six assists.
Portland Pilot senior guard Alec Wintering had a career-high 36 points and sophomore guard Jazz Johnson scored 26 points as CSUN could not stop the two on defense.
The Matadors, with their up-tempo style of play, have had no problem scoring but their defense has suffered as a result. They are now 345th out of 347 NCAA Division 1 teams in points allowed with 92.6 points given up per-game.
One silver lining for the Matadors was that Parks lead the tournament in free throws made with 21, tied with Wintering. Junior guard Kendall Smith lead the tournament in turnovers with 16, also tying Wintering in that category.
CSUN will return home after the long trip to face Idaho State (0-6) on Saturday Dec. 3. Tip-off will be 4 p.m. at the Matadome.