Photo Essay: Men’s basketball loses tight battle to Northern Colorado

CSUN+guard+John+Wade+III%2C+1%2C+goes+up+to+put+the+ball+in+the+basket+against+the+University+of+Northern+Colorado+Bears+on+Saturday%2C+Dec.+10%2C+2022%2C+at+the+Premier+America+Credit+Union+Arena+in+Northridge%2C+Calif.

Aliyah Hinckley

CSUN guard John Wade III, 1, goes up to put the ball in the basket against the University of Northern Colorado Bears on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif.

Aliyah Hinckley, Reporter

In a game characterized by runs, the University of Northern Colorado (5-5) had the last laugh. The Matadors men’s basketball team (2-7) took the lead late but committed multiple fouls, allowing the Bears to secure a 70-63 victory.

Matadors guards Atin Wright and Dionte Bostick combined for 37 points, while guard De’Sean Allen-Eikens tacked on 11 of his own, to go along with eight rebounds. The leading scorers combined to shoot 19 of 48 from the field, while the rest of the team combined for only 15 points on 7-of-17 shooting. With the lack of production from the rest of the roster, alongside the inefficiency of the three leading the score sheet, the Matadors were kept to 63 points.

CSUN also went 9 of 18 from the free-throw line, while Northern Colorado shot 21 of 27. The Matadors dominated points in the paint, scoring 36 to the Bears’ 12. Northern Colorado counterbalanced that by making 11 of 28 3-pointers, shooting 39.3% from beyond the arc.

The Bears made five 3-pointers in the first seven minutes of the game to jump out to a 19-6 lead. The Matadors responded with a 10-3 run behind five points from Allen-Eikens, but a 3-pointer by Northern Colorado guard Daylen Kountz kicked off another Bears’ run. The 3-pointer, along with three straight Matadors’ fouls toward the end of the run, put Northern Colorado back up by 12 with five minutes left in the half.

Wright then scored eight straight points to give momentum back to the Matadors, who came within one before a Bears’ shot from downtown put them up four at the horn.

The second half continued to be a game of runs. Following Matadors forward Dearon Tucker’s layup on the opening possession, the Bears scored 11 points while only giving up a free throw, putting them up by 12 with 14 minutes left. CSUN’s leading trio took control after that, scoring 14 straight points to give the Matadors their first lead since 2-0. Wright scored nine straight to end this run, capping it off with a basket while getting fouled that got the Matadors’ bench on its feet.

But the Bears responded quickly. Foul trouble for CSUN led to seven free throws during the Bears’ ensuing 10-0 run, giving Northern Colorado a comfortable eight-point lead with six minutes to go.

The Bears kept that separation the rest of the way, never allowing the Matadors to come within one possession. Northern Colorado had three scorers finish with at least 16 points, while the rest of the players combined for 17 points. This performance was just enough to push the Bears over the hump.

The Matadors will return to action on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. against the University of Idaho. They will wrap up their homestand three days later against the University of San Diego, which will be their last game before starting conference play.