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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Column: CSUN men’s hoops heading to a promising future

Griffin O’Rourke
CSUN Matador forward De’Sean Allen-Eikens goes for a lay-up at the CSUN vs Le Moyne university game on Nov. 21.

For the first time, in what seems like a long time, there is buzz building about the CSUN men’s basketball team.

With a 92-54 win over Bethesda University, a National Christian College Athletic Association school, or NCCAA, this new Matador squad has shown lightyears of improvement in just one off-season. CSUN has to trace their last win against Bethesda back to 2015 as the Flames had won back-to-back games against the Matadors in 2016 and again in 2021.

First year head coach Andy Newman has the Matadors sitting at a 7-3 record with the three losses coming by a combined 23 points. Last season, CSUN had to wait until late February to pick up their seventh win as they finished with a 7-25 record.

Newman was announced as the new head coach on April 15 and went right to work with building his team and staff. He mentioned how he likes the development he’s seen from the program in the eight months he has been here.

“It has been fun to see, these guys have really responded well and they are playing good,” Newman said.

With only four players from last year’s squad sticking around, Newman has had to rebuild the roster almost completely. With key pickups like transfers Keonte Jones and Mahmoud Fofana, Newman has found the right pieces in his first season at the helm.

Jones, who did not start to begin the season, has been improving every game. He has put up double-digit points in the last eight games he has played, including a 22-point explosion against Bethesda.

“First game of the season, he came off the bench as our sixth man, and boy, we realized we can’t play without him,” Newman said with a chuckle.

Not only has Jones been really active with the scoring, but he is also a tenacious defender. Despite not always being the tallest player on the court, he leads the Matadors in both blocks and steals.

Jones also knows the type of player he needs to be to help his team out.

“Playing defense and locking down the other team’s best player, the scoring will come if you’re making the right plays and playing the game of basketball,” Jones said of his role.

Not only is Jones making a ton of plays scoring the ball, but so is the team’s leading scorer and one of the four returnees, De’Sean Allen-Eikens. Allen-Eikens was embroiled in controversy last season due to an arrest over spring break last year, but still found a spot back on Newman’s inaugural roster. He has since returned the favor by leading CSUN in scoring as he is up to 19.9 points per game.

Allen-Eikens sat out the game against Bethesda due to precautionary reasons from an injury sustained at practice, but returned in their next matchup against Utah Tech on Dec. 11.

The Matadors are going to have to rely on the nitty gritty culture that is brewing to start the Newman era. With games against Utah Tech, UCLA, and Montana State, two NCAA Tournament teams in 2022, it is going to be interesting how the Matadors fare.

Newman particularly pointed out the Dec. 22 matchup against the Bobcats as a test he’s looking forward to.

“Montana State is going to tell us a lot about our team before the league season,” Newman ended off with.

If the Matadors come away from their road games with two wins, the Andy Newman hype train may be coming in steaming hot for Big West conference play.

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