That’s no longer where the Matadors feel they belong even remotely. That’s just the number of wins they have six games into the season.
The latest misstep? A 55-47 loss at Drexel Monday night. The biggest regret? A blown second-half lead. The guy whose stomach will revolve around the most throughout while flying nearly 3,000 miles west back to California? Josh Jenkins.
And it’s not that Jenkins alone threw this game away, but his 0-for-7, five-turnover performance just wasn’t going to go unpunished. The point guard was held scoreless for the game and lost the ball in crunch time one ‘- or twice – too many times.
His teammates didn’t provide any help, though. As the clock’s life entered its golden age, it was as if someone had buttered the Matadors’ hands. They had five turnovers ‘- two by Deon Tresvant and one by Tremaine Townsend – in the game’s last five minutes and turned a wrestling tie into a comfortable win ‘hellip; for their rival. CSUN was outscored 10-2 during those 300 seconds.
Northridge (1-5) had a 36-29 lead following a Townsend jumper with 15:31 left to play but that lasted all but two minutes as nine unanswered Drexel points put the home team on top. Rob Haynes regained the lead for CSUN, but Gerald Colds got it back for the Dragons. It was back-and-forth tumbles for the next seven minutes, a defensive slugfest that saw both teams combine to score just 10 points in the span.
Jenkins missed a layup with 5:43 left, but reserve Vincent Cordell was able to tip it in to make it a deadlocked 45-45.’
It was the Matadors’ last basket until backup point guard Matthew Wallace made a meaningless layup with 12 seconds left.
Drexel (2-1) put it away at the free throw line and courtesy of Scott Rodgers, who had eight of his game-leading 13 points in the last quarter of the half. Six of those were made foul shots.
Wallace led the Matadors with 12 points. Tresvant shook off some of the rust from his shooting wrist, made 3-of-6 three-pointers and scored 11. He also had three steals. Northridge shot a horrific 34 percent from the field, but ‘- hard to believe ‘- Drexel was even worse. The Dragons made only 29 percent of their shots. They had the same number of field goal attempts as the Matadors (55) but made three less. Drexel had 17 turnovers, very close to the amount by CSUN (19).
There was a notorious difference, a 15-feet-long one. The Dragons shot 26 free throws and made good on 18 of them. Northridge had only five free chances. It erred three times. The Matadors trailed throughout the first half but stayed within striking distance. One of Tresvant’s treys in the last minute sent CSUN into halftime feeling good about itself, behind 22-21. It opened up the closing period with a 15-7 run to get its largest lead of the game.
You know the rest. Loss No. 5 in a row.
Colds also had 13 points for the Dragons. Forward Kenny Tribet scored five and grabbed nine rebounds. Willie Galick scored eight for Northridge. Townsend and Haynes chipped in six points each.
CSUN comes home for a six-day break before its next game, another roadie, at No. 12 UCLA. It’s safe to say not every Matador will be looking forward to that one. At 1-5, they’re struggling beyond expectations. Head Coach Bobby Braswell has repeated constantly that, at this point, it’s not about racking up wins, but about getting better.
The Matadors haven’t done either and it’s time for the all-mighty Bruins, who have already been upset once this season (They lost to Michigan 55-52 Nov. 20). Can Northridge repeat an eight-year-old feat and stun Bruin Nation again Sunday?’ ‘ ‘
If you answered yes, then you’re No. 1. But it remains to be seen.