The Matadors get blown out in the first round of the NIT West bracket against the Horned Frogs

Gilberto Manzano

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The Cal State Northridge men’s basketball team was crushed in their season opener against No. 7 Purdue, losing 89-64 last Friday. Northridge was able to outscored the Boilermakers in the second half, giving them a little bit of momentum going into Tempe, Ariz. for the West bracket of the NIT season tip-off.

All the momentum went out the window in the first few minutes of play in the Matadors’ first-round matchup of the NIT.

Northridge was routed 83-65 by Texas Christian University (TCU) Monday night at Wells Fargo Arena (home of Arizona State athletics). The story of the game was the Matadors’ inability to play defense and to create offensively.

Edvinas Ruzgas had a career-high tie in points and three-pointers against the Matadors. He had 24 points and five of TCU’s 12 three-pointers. Ronnie Moss had seventeen points and five assists for the Horned Frogs.

The high scorer for the Matadors was Kenny Daniels with 14 points, and leading the team in rebounds was Lenny Daniel with eight. Daniel was also CSUN’s only other player to score in double digits with 11.

Northridge was a man short with Rashaun McLemore out after suffering a concussion in the game against Purdue.

For the second consecutive game the Matadors dug themselves a double-digit deficit early in the first half. Northridge was able to get their first lead of the year when they went up 3-2 on Kenny Daniels’ three-point play. After that, the Horned Frogs went on a 7-0 run and never relinquished the lead after that. TCU was able to set the tone early by knocking down shots from long range and getting to the paint easily.

Willie Galick was in foul trouble early, just like he did against Purdue, getting two fouls in the first three minutes of the game. Braswell took him out for the rest of the half, and that led to CSUN giving up plenty of offensive rebounds to TCU.

The Matadors didn’t look like a team throughout the ball game. They didn’t work together on the defensive side, and that made them give up easy lay ups. They weren’t able to set up plays offensively. The main reason for that was that point guard Mark Hill didn’t record a single assist for the second consecutive game. As a team, CSUN was only able to get nine assists, compared to TCU’s 19.

The Matadors were horrendous from three-point range, only knocking three out of 17 attempts. That wasn’t a surprise since CSUN has been struggling form downtown.

Northridge did turn things around offensively in the second half, being able to outscore the Horned Frogs 40-35.

Northridge has now played poorly in two non-conference games, but head coach Bobby Braswell always tells his players to peak when Big West play starts.

“It’s not where you are two days from now … It’s where you are in a month from now,” Galick said about what Braswell tells him and his teammates. “It’s where you are when conference starts.”