Bench provides scoring power in win against Waves

Ivan Yeo

The second game of the CSUN men’s basketball team resembled its’ opening game against Chicago State.

The Matadors got strong play from its bench, took charge in the second half and came out on the winning side of another high scoring shootout, defeating the host Pepperdine Waves 97-89 at Firestone Fieldhouse on Saturday night.

“We came out and executed as a team and got big plays from our bench players,” junior guard Deon Tresvant said.

Northridge was led by a trio of juniors, as Tresvant scored a team-high 20 points, guard Josh Jenkins scored 15 and center Tremaine Townsend scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds. All three players came off the bench for Northridge.

“We were very blessed and fortunate to be able to bring some guys off the bench like that,” Braswell said. “It was a great team effort. I was very pleased with our guys.”

Not that all of CSUN’s contributions came from the reserves. Senior forward Jonathan Heard had 13 points and junior guard Rob Haynes had 10 points, including a critical three-pointer that sealed the win in the game’s waning moments.

Pepperdine was led by its own bench players, as freshman guard Tyrone Shelley scored a game-high 34 points and freshman guard Mychel Thompson, the son of former Los Angeles Lakers center Mychal Thompson had 10 points. Waves’ starters freshman center Daniel Johnson had 13 points and Malcolm Thomas had 11 points.

The game started out close, as the game was tied five different times and the lead changed hands 14 times. Pepperdine led 27-26 until Tresvant nailed consecutive threes to open up a 32-23 lead. CSUN stayed in front the rest of the first half, leading by as many as nine and taking a 48-43 lead into the halftime break.

Both teams went in opposite directions to start the second half. CSUN scored five straight points to open up a 55-43 lead while Pepperdine missed its first six shots. The Waves’ Thompson converted a three-point play at the 12:08 mark to cut the Matador lead to 67-59. However, from that point on, CSUN took control, going on a 13-5 run to lead 80-64 at 8:15. CSUN led 84-66, its largest lead of the game when Pepperdine started chipping away at that lead, scoring seven straight points to cut the deficit to 84-73.

The Waves continued to push further, getting the lead under single digits on a pair of Shelley free-throws. Tresvant scored for the Matadors at 2:05, but Pepperdine refused to go away, scoring five in a row to cut the Northridge lead to 92-87 with 1:25 to play. Haynes, however provided the big blow for CSUN, as he nailed a three in front of the Matador bench with exactly a minute left to dash any hopes of a Waves’ comeback.

Northridge shot 50 percent from both the field (35-69) and the three-point line (8-16) while holding Pepperdine to 40 percent (29-72) shooting from the field and 29 percent (5-18) from the three-point line.

“I thought we did a good job of handling the dribbler and not (double-teaming) too much because that’s what they try to do,” Braswell said. “It’s like the European style, where they penetrate and pitch out to the shooters.”

CSUN committed 29 turnovers, but that was to be expected against a team like Pepperdine, which utilizes the full-court press defense basically the entire game.

“Our goal was that we were going to attack them,” Braswell said. “We were going to turn it over some, but I felt we were going to have more opportunities to score with the guys that we have that are scorers if we attacked their press.”

The Matadors return home to host the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners at the Matadome on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.