The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Matadors suffer late game collapse as they drop season opener

Aliyah Hinckley
File Photo. CSUN guard De’Sean Allen-Eikens, 25, shoots the ball while falling as a UC Riverside player defends him on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif.

CSUN head coach Andy Newman will have to wait another game to find his first win at Northridge as the Matadors dropped the season opener 88-79 at Stanford (1-0).

After being up by four with less than three minutes left in the game, the Matadors (0-1) let a season opening win slip through their fingers. The Cardinal went on a 13-0 run in the final two and a half minutes to seal the game and avoid the upset on college basketball’s opening night.

In Newman’s first game at the helm, the Matadors went toe to toe with a power five school, something that has been foreign to CSUN in recent years.

However, another question loomed over the Matadors as assistant coach Jordan Jamestown was absent from the bench during the game. With no explanation given for Jamestown’s absence and the athletic department declining to comment, it will be interesting to see if there is something larger at hand with the absence.

The Matadors had three players finish as double digit scorers in the game. Familiar faces De’Sean Allen-Eikens and Dearon Tucker led the way with 20 and 14 points respectively. Texas A&M Corpus Christi transfer Jasman Sangha had 11 coming off the bench.

Something that was not on the statsheet tonight was how hard the Matadors played. CSUN head coach Andy Newman talked in the off-season about how he wanted to set a different type of culture here at Northridge.

CSUN jumped out to an early lead in the first half, which set the tone for the Matadors as it seemed to alleviate the first game nerves early.

A back and forth first half saw Stanford pull away in the last three minutes, something that foreshadowed the last three minutes of the second half as well. The Cardinal took advantage of an aggressive CSUN defense that got a little too handsy at times, and the Matadors were forced to turn to their bench earlier than expected.

Two starters, Dionte Bostick and San Diego State transfer Jared Barnett, finished with four fouls, while Keyonte Jones, a junior college transfer, fouled out of the game late in the second half.

CSUN racked up nearly twice as many fouls as the Cardinal, finishing with 26 compared to Stanford’s 14.

The Cardinal scored 19 points from the free throw line, something that Coach Newman will surely look to address as Stanford shot more than double the number of free throws than the Matadors.

Even after being down at halftime, the Matadors didn’t roll over in the second half like they have in previous years, an indicator that positive change is coming from Coach Newman’s new culture. The difference was evident when the Matadors stormed back to take the lead late with around three minutes left.

This is where everything started to unravel. After Jones scored and got the and-one, the Matadors came up empty on six consecutive possessions in the final three minutes of the game.

Meanwhile, it was quite the opposite for Stanford as they finished on a 13-0 run to seal the game and avoid the early season upset.

If the Matadors can figure out a way to finish halves and stay out of foul trouble, Newman’s squad will figure to be a tough out in what is shaping up to be an extremely competitive Big West this season.

What would have been a great season-opening win will turn into a hard lesson learned for CSUN as they travel to Moscow, Idaho for a matchup against the Vandals on Nov. 9.

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