In their final exhibition game, the Cal State Northridge men’s basketball team defeated The Master’s College 79-55 on Tuesday at the Matadome. Junior forward Tremaine Townsend governed the paint, scoring 15 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in 20 minutes of play. The Matadors open the season on Saturday against Chicago State.
Townsend, a usual starter, was held out of the starting line-up for being late to the team’s shoot around and did not enter the game until the 6:43 mark of the first half. Without delay, he scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds in the remaining minutes of the first half. He scored eight more points and grabbed 11 more rebounds in 13 minutes in the second half. He finished the night 7-11 from the floor, with three assists and one blocked shot. Head coach Bobby Braswell liked what he saw from the 6-foot-nine forward.
“We knew he had the ability and he proved that today,” Braswell said. “I think he felt bad about being late. He wanted to make up for that.”
Senior forward Jonathan Heard led all scorers with 21 points on 6-11 shooting from the floor, including three for four from behind the three-point arc.
Senior Jayme Miller also played well in the paint, adding ten points and eight rebounds. After the game, he attributed the win to an all-around team effort.
“Tonight was our last dress rehearsal,” Miller said. “We did well working together tonight. We shared the ball and we had each other’s backs.”
Junior guard Rob Haynes added 15 points off the bench in 19 minutes of play, hitting 4-6 from three-point territory.
Haynes shot 42.6% from behind the three-point line last season, the sixth-best percentage in the Big West Conference. Shooting 67 percent from behind the three-point line last night, he proved once again that it was no fluke.
“The strength of my game is shooting,” said Haynes. “Coach tells me when I get open, ‘look to take the shot and shoot it with confidence.'”
The Matadors started the game cold, missing their first six shots and being held scoreless for the first 5:20 of the game. But, the team hung in for a 34-27 halftime lead.
The Matadors played a much more efficient second half, outscoring The Master’s College 45-28, while shooting almost 49 percent from the field. Their defense was also much-improved in the second half, holding the Mustangs to just 10-35 shooting (28.6 percent) from the floor.
“The main key is defense,” said Haynes. “I think in the first half our defense was okay. But, in the second half we turned it up a notch and that’s why we were able to put it away.”
Northridge out-rebounded The Master’s College 44-33 and also forced the Mustangs into 25 turnovers for the game. But, it was the team’s improved second half play that encouraged Coach Bobby Braswell.
“We played much better in the second half,” said Braswell. “We did a good job defensively and that gave me some confidence. Overall, I would give us a B-,” Braswell said. “We’re not where we want to be, but we’re getting there.”