Matadors get better in loss to Stanford

Alonso Tacanga

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Stanford, CA – Josh Jenkins alone was almost good enough to overcome Anthony Goods.

If he only would have had some help.

Jenkins’ career-high’ 24 points brought the Matadors (1-1) all the way back from a huge first-half deficit against Stanford, but he was practically alone offensively, the opposite of Stanford’s Goods – who had himself and his whole supporting cast pitch in for the cause: A 103-85 win Tuesday night at Maples Pavilion.

‘We just couldn’t get over that hill,’ said Jenkins, who went 10-of-12 from the field.

Goods, a guard, made that hill steeper. He scored 25 points. His buddies helped, too. All Cardinal starters hit double-figures.

CSUN was down 18 in the first half in part because of Jenkins and his turnovers (10 for the game), a hot topic in the Matador house when it comes to team imperfections. The point guard made up for it with offense, though. He had nine points in a four-minute stretch to cut the deficit to 45-36 with 2:28 to play in the first half.

Jenkins, a senior, was a one-man wrecking crew. And he had to. His usual help, shooting guard Deon Tresvant and center Tremaine Townsend, were on the bench with two and three fouls respectively.’ The point guard was option No. 1, 2 and 3 to make something happen offensively.

‘Because (Jenkins) handles the ball as much as he handles the ball, he’s going to have some turnovers,’ Head Coach Bobby Braswell. ‘Obviously 10 turnovers is way too many. I think that was probably fatigue more than anything else.’

Jenkins was also in foul trouble. He picked up No. 3 moments before intermission.

But once the second half began, it was all forgotten for Jenkins as he started the Matador climb back into the game with a three-pointer. A pair of Wllie Galick layups and a Rob Haynes trey later, CSUN got to even ground, tied at 56-all.

The home team regained the lead with a couple of free throws.’ And Northridge tied it again. Two more free throws gave Stanford a 72-70 lead ‘hellip; and more of the same expanded it. The Matadors cut into it several times, but kept getting called for off-the-ball fouls. They lived in the penalty.

Sixteen of Stanford’s 23 points during a run that gave the Cardinal a 79-72 lead with 8:47 left came from the free throw line. The home team had a 29-3 advantage in the area in the second half.

The Matadors weren’t making excuses, though.

‘We can’t really control the refs,’ said Galick, CSUN’s starting power forward. ‘We got to control Northridge basketball. We got ourselves out of position and put ourselves in a position where they could make the call. That was on us.’

Galick fouled out of the game himself and played only 14 minutes. Townsend, back from an ankle injury, managed to log a mere 19 minutes. Tresvant played 22.

There were a few flashes from Tresvant to start the night. He hit a step-back three in his first shot attempt. However, he made little thereafter and finished with nine points. The guard, last season’s leading scorer, has struggled in his first two regular-season games.

‘We told him it’s not going to be easy for him.’ Braswell said. ‘He’s not going to surprise anybody. People are really going to concentrate on him. Unfortunately, he got two fouls early in the first half of the game and that took him out of his rhythm a little bit.’

Tresvant couldn’t get anything going when the team needed someone besides Jenkins to take charge of the scoring to counter the Stanford free-throw parade. Jenkins got his fourth foul with 10:10 left to play and had to sit. By the time he came back, Stanford led by nine.

Moments later, Goods drained the last three of his 25, Landry Field dunked a putback to make it 91-78 and Jenkins had had enough for one game. Following his tenth turnover, he smacked Lawrence Hill’s arm and was called for his fifth foul, ending his night.

‘I assess my play as bad,’ he said. ‘I did what I had to do for my teammates, but I was trying to make too many plays at times. I just need to get control of the ball. (Too many turnovers are) beginning to be a habit and it’s hurting the team, obviously.’

Galick had 12 points in 6-of-6 shooting, but just one rebound. Starting guard Rob Haynes scored 11.

Braswell, who was severely disappointed after his team’s 73-62 season-opening win against Cal Lutheran Friday, was rather complacent with Tuesday’s outcome.

‘I saw big improvement from the last game to this one,’ he said. ‘That’s the thing I’m always looking for: that we get better.’

The coach was disgruntled about his team’s smugness against the Kingsmen. That was different in Stanford. Jenkins led the pack.

‘We improved tremendously,’ the point guard said.