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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Matador guards fend off Warriors in home opener

Aliyah Hinckley
File photo. Forward Lamine Niang, 34, celebrates after the win against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 4, 2023, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif.

CSUN men’s basketball hosted Life Pacific University on Friday afternoon for their home opener. After winning two straight games on the road against University of Idaho and Chicago State University, the Matadors (3-1) returned home against Life Pacific (3-2) and defeated the Warriors, 98-67.

“It feels great to win my first home opener. Super proud of our guys’ effort,” head coach Andy Newman said. “This is hopefully a good moment that my family and I have been excited about for a long time.”

The Matadors jumped out to a 12-2 lead four minutes into the first half, with guard Dionte Bostick scoring three straight baskets. He knocked down two three-pointers and a fastbreak layup in that sequence. CSUN then built a 15-point lead behind another Bostick triple and layup, plus the foul, to extend the lead to 20-5. Bostick would end the first half with 17 points, while shooting 3-4 from beyond the arc.

“I approached the game like any other, no matter who it is,” said Dionte Bostick. “I came in and scored 17 points in the first half like it was any other game, not taking anyone lightly and having that mentality every time I go into a game.”

The Matadors would end the half up 51-38, a lead the Warriors were unable to come back from. Guard De’Sean Allen-Eikens poured in 11 points, shooting 5-9 from the field. Bostick and Allen-Eikens combined for 28 points in the first half on 11-17 shooting from the floor.

A dunk by Allen-Eikens two minutes into the second half sparked a 24-9 run for the Matadors, putting them up 75-47 with 10 minutes left to play.

Five Matadors scored in double figures, with Bostick leading the way with 20 points while shooting 54% from the field. Allen-Eikens contributed along the way, finishing with 19 points and seven rebounds. Both guards combined for 39 points while shooting 15-26 from the field.

“We’ve been teaching these guys to share the ball and play as a team,” Newman said. “And it’s entertaining to watch them go out there and show the results on the floor; it’s an enjoyable team to be part of.”

CSUN transfers Keonte Jones and Jordan Brinson would spark the team with energy, scoring in double digits. Jones finished with a double-double as he went for 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Brinson scored 16 points off the bench.

The Matadors continued to dominate the Warriors in every aspect of the game. They dominated the glass with 56 rebounds, outscoring them 66-24 in the paint and out-hustling them for second-chance points 20-6. They moved the ball around and, as a team, had 19 assists.

Defensively, the Matadors were elite, wreaking havoc as they earned 10 steals and forced 17 turnovers, converting them into 23 points. CSUN held the Warriors to 40% shooting from the field and 28% from 3-point land.

The onslaught of Life Pacific would continue the rest of the game. The Matadors scored the most points in a game this season, going for 98 on 52% shooting from the field and 44% from 3-point range. CSUN outscored Life Pacific 39-18 off the bench; forward Mahmoud Fofana helped lead the second unit, scoring 10 points and knocking down one triple, while Brinson helped with the playmaking, leading the team with six assists off the bench.

The Matadors stay on their home floor and look to extend their winning streak as they host the University of Le Moyne (1-4) on Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. on ESPN+.

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