Plagued by poor shooting, men’s basketball loses to Boise State 74-48

Miles James (33) drives in for a layup against Boise State on Dec. 7, 2021, at The Matadome in Northridge, Calif.

Jordan Puente, Sports Assistant Editor

Tuesday night hoops in the Matadome drew a large crowd that was ready to get loud — even the band showed up and made their presence known. But the Boise State University Broncos silenced all of that within the first three minutes of the game.

CSUN (3-5) took on Boise State (5-3) in a matchup that looked lopsided to begin with. Boise State took control over the first half, but CSUN found some life early in the second half. Despite the rally, the Matadors still ended up losing 74-48.

“Not very good,” said head coach Trent Johnson. “Very, very embarrassing.”

CSUN’s shooting woes from Sunday’s matchup against Fresno State continued in the first half as they could not get anything going. The Matadors shot 1-6 from the 3-point line in the first half, but they did have some success at the free throw line, going 4-4 with help from Elijah Hardy.

Elijah Hardy (0) receives the inbounds pass from Kailen Rains (3) against Boise State on Dec. 7, 2021, at The Matadome in Northridge, Calif. (Christopher Riscen)

Hardy and three players came into the second half with a combined 12 points.

Onyi Eyisi led CSUN with 12 points and six rebounds along with Hardy and three others with a combined 12 points.

Boise State went on mini runs that extended their lead each chance the Matadors countered. The Broncos had their way with the Matadors inside the paint by spreading everyone to the wings and having the guards run pick-and-rolls.

The absences of captain Darius Brown II and forward Miles Brookins were felt by CSUN, as the team’s ball distribution and shot selection suffered without them. Prior to Tuesday, Brown had played 95 consecutive games and made 93-straight starts as a Matador.

Nevertheless, the Matadors came out of the second half in full force by going on a 9-1 run with the help of Darius Beane. Beane collected most of his 11 points during the run.

CSUN was able to cut the deficit down to 10, but the problems they had in the first half continued. The Matadors’ 3-point game was dead, going 1-10, every miss coming with points by the Broncos.

The Broncos countered with a 22-5 run of their own to extend their lead to 63-35 thanks to guard Tyson Degenhart and forward Naje Smith, who shot the lights out in the Matadome.

Degenhart had a game-high 21 points, but Smith was sensational. The Matadors had no answers for him as he finished the night 7-7 from the field, scoring 17 points, most of them coming from threes.

Johnson has not been pleased with the way his team has been playing down the stretch. Boise State let CSUN take shots knowing they were going to miss or pass it off.

“Basketball may not be the main thing for certain guys tonight, but tonight was very embarrassing,” Johnson said.

CSUN heads off to Fargo to take on North Dakota State on Friday.