New Matadors make an impact

Gilberto Manzano

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Junior forward Kevin Menner drives past Cal Lutheran’s Kyle Knudsen in the midst of the Matadors’ 88-67 win against the Kingsmen at the Matadome Wednesday evening. Photo Credit:Jonathan Pobre/ Executive Editor

Junior forward Kevin Menner drives past Cal Lutheran’s Kyle Knudsen in the midst of the Matadors’ 88-67 win against the Kingsmen at the Matadome Wednesday evening. Photo Credit:Jonathan Pobre/ Executive Editor

Junior guard Rashaun McLemore, right, made his Matador debut Wednesday against the Kingsmen. Photo Credit: Jonathan Pobre/ Executive Editor

Junior guard Rashaun McLemore, right, made his Matador debut Wednesday against the Kingsmen. Photo Credit: Jonathan Pobre/ Executive Editor

In the last two days college basketball powerhouses have struggled in exhibition matches against non-NCAA Division-I schools. No. 25 Syracuse lost to Division-II Le Moyne, and UCLA squeezed a one-point victory over Concordia, a school that is’nt even in the NCAA but the lesser-known NAIA. That made head coach Bobby Braswell a little bit worried and made sure to tell his players that anything can happen in their exhibition match with Division-III Cal Lutheran University.

“I reminded the guys what happened to Syracuse last night,” Braswell said.

Last season, in their first regular season game, CSUN struggled against Cal Lutheran and was down 32-31 at halftime. CSUN was able to win that game, but now this year the Matadors made sure not to take the Kingsmen lightly.

Wednesday night in an exhibition game CSUN defeated Cal Lutheran 88-67 at the Matadome. Lenny Daniel and Kevin Menner both scored in double figures in their debuts as Matadors. Senior forward Willie Galick had team highs in points and rebounds with 19 and 8, respectively.

Braswell experimented with his starters by having  two starting lineups: one to begin the game, and another to start the second half. Braswell said after the game that he still has no idea who the starters are. One thing is for sure: Galick seems to be a lock to start, since he started both the first and second halves.

The Matadors started the game with déjà vu from last season’s game with the Kingsmen. CSUN played rusty on both sides of the ball and at one point was down five points.

“Very sloppy in some areas,” Braswell said about the game. “We did some good things, some things that weren’t so good and things that we got to get better at.”

After the five-point deficit the new Matadors Menner, Daniel and Rashaun McLemore gave their team a spark. CSUN went on a 17-2 run and never relinquished the lead after that.

“I really wanted to expose them, show their weaknesses and strengths,” Braswell said about the new players.

In the second half of the game Galick and Daniel took the offensive load and didn’t let the Kingsmen get back into the game. Daniel shined in his first Division-I game scoring 18 points and grabbing six rebounds.

“I was nervous at first and it kinda showed on the court in my play,” Daniel said. “Once I found myself I kinda picked it up the rest of the game.”

It was also Menner’s first Division-I game. Like Daniel, he also had an impressive debut scoring 12 points and recording six rebounds.

The Matadors struggled from three-point range only hitting two out of nine. The free throw line was also bad with 59 percent.

Senior point guard Mark Hill didn’t have a good night in the box score. He was held scoreless and only managed to record two assists.

Saturday night Northridge plays its final exhibition game against The Masters College, before the regular season matchup with No. 7 Purdue.