The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Win streak snapped at 4

The Cal State Northridge men’s basketball team suffered its first loss of the season Friday, losing to Duquesne 97-74 in the opening round of the Drake Iowa Realty Invitational Tournament. The Matadors were able to bounce back with a 69-43 victory over North Carolina Central on Saturday night, ending the weekend with a 5-1 season record.

The undefeated Duquesne Dukes entered Friday night’s game with the second best offense in the nation, averaging 92.5 points per game. The Dukes not only lived up to their average, but exceeded it by scoring 97 points against CSUN.

Duquesne jumped out to an early lead, but the Matadors hung tight and took their largest lead of the game at 24-21 with just over seven minutes to play in the first half. But, from that point on, the Matadors struggled, allowing the Dukes to go on a 25-13 run to close out the first half with a 46-39 lead. Northridge watched its deficit grow slowly throughout the second half, until Duquesne took its largest lead of the game, 97-72, with 1:05 remaining in the game.

For Duquesne, junior guard Kojo Mensah scored a game high 22 points and junior guard Aaron Jackson finished with 19 points, five assists, five rebounds and four steals. Also for the Dukes, freshman guard Bill Clark had 16 points and four steals, junior forward/center Shawn James had 13 points and seven rebounds, and senior guard Gary Tucker finished with 12 points and five assists. The victory improved Duquesne’s record to 12-0.

For the Matadors, junior guard Rodrigue Mels scored a team-high 18 points and junior forward Tremaine Townsend recorded his third double-double of the last three games, with 10 points and 10 rebounds to go along with his four steals.

The Matadors won the battle on the boards, out-rebounding the Dukes 45-37 and also recorded a season-high in blocked shots with six.

On Saturday, it was a completely different story for Northridge. After giving up 97 points to Duquesne, the Matadors tightened their defense, allowing just 43 total points to the Eagles of North Carolina Central. It was the sixth lowest number of points given up by the Matadors in school history and the lowest opposition point total in 24 years. The school record for the lowest number of points allowed in a game is 38, set in 1977 against Cal Poly Pomona.

The Matadors got off to a fast start, taking an early lead, and never looking back. By halftime, they led 29-18, and held the Eagles to just 5 – 20 shooting from the field. The Matadors made 10 of 19 shots from the field by halftime, including 3 for 6 from three-point territory.

Northridge ran away with the game in the second half, after an 8-0 run to start the half gave them a 37-18 lead. The Eagles didn’t get closer than 13 points for the rest of the game and the Matadors sailed to victory.

The Matadors shot 46.3 percent (25-54) from the field, while the Eagles finished the game shooting just 31.7 percent (13-41).

Senior guard Rai Colston said solid defense is the number one thing the coaching staff pushes for.

“Coach preaches about protecting the paint,” Colston said. “We did a pretty good job of doing that and keeping them outside. That’s why we kept them to a low score.”

Senior forwards Jonathan Heard and Calvin Chitwood scored 11 points each, while also grabbing seven and six rebounds, respectively. Junior guard Paul Wayne added five points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals.

For North Carolina Central, senior guard J’Mell Walters scored a team-high 12 points off the bench and senior forward Charles Futrell added nine points and 12 rebounds. The loss dropped the Eagles record to 1-9 on the season.

Although their winning streak was stopped at four after Friday night’s loss, the Matadors 5-1 record is still more than respectable. But, Colston feels the team has a long way to go, especially with the large stack of new players the team has this year.

“We still have a lot of room for improvement,” Colston said. “We need to execute better. We have 12 new players this year trying to fit in, so it’s about learning everyday and getting better as a team.”

The Matadors return to the court Wednesday night to face Utah Valley State at the Matadome. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

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