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 blown out in an ugly loss to the Gauchos

Matador forward Keonte Jones comes out of the timeout with the Matadors trailing 41-17 with six minutes left in the first half at the Premier America Credit Union Arena on Jan. 18 in Northridge, Calif.

Entering the game Thursday night, the Matadors (13-6, 4-3 Big West) matched up against the defending conference champion Gauchos of Santa Barbara (11-7, 4-4 Big West). CSUN came into the game on a six-game home winning streak. UCSB came out firing on all cylinders, knocking down six triples to soar up to a 29-12 lead in the first 10 minutes of the first game. CSUN would only take the lead once in the game’s first possession when Matador forward De’Sean Allen-Eikens scored the first points, but the Matadors couldn’t stop the Gauchos’ hot shooting in the first half, falling 97-69.  

CSUN only suffered one home loss all season prior to this game, but on Thursday, the Matadors did not come out with any energy or aggressiveness to match the Gauchos’ shooting and rebounding. The Gauchos jumped out to a 21-7 lead after burying four consecutive three-pointers to start the game, which capped off a 16-2 run in just seven minutes. The Matadors couldn’t stop the runs that UCSB would go on as only two Matadors finished in double-figures for the game. Forward Keonte Jones finished with 21 points and eight rebounds, while guard Gianni Hunt chalked in 12 points and eight assists. 

Before the Matadors knew it, they were looking at a 38-16 deficit as the Gauchos went on a 7-2 run after a technical foul was called on Gianni Hunt and the Matadors turned the ball over two straight times. The last few minutes of the first half would end ugly for the Matadors as Hunt missed a wide-open dunk in transition, and forward De’Sean Allen-Eikens missed four straight free throws, losing an opportunity to cut the lead down to 15. 

The first half ended with CSUN shooting 1-10 from three-point range and 11-33 from the field. 

The lack of effort and energy hurt the Matadors all game as they were outscored 30-12 by the Gauchos’ bench and dominated on the glass 44-33. CSUN would go down by 21 points after UCSB guard Jason Fontenet II ended the half with a layup plus the foul, putting the Gauchos up 49-28. 

Guard Cole Anderson knocked down five three-pointers throughout the game, two more than the whole CSUN team combined. 

The Matadors fared much worse in the second half as the first two baskets for the Gauchos were two straight triples that extended the lead to 55-28. UCSB would lead by as many as 35 points, led by Gaucho forward Yohan Traore, who finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. Even though UCSB had more turnovers than CSUN, it still felt like the Matadors had more because of all the opportunities CSUN failed to score on when they turned the ball over on those essential possessions. 

Jones carried the Matadors’ offense on his back in the second half, scoring 15 points in the period, while guard Gianni Hunt was the only other consistent player, finishing with a solid 12 points and eight assists. Hunt and Jones were the only Matadors to score double figures, while the Gauchos had four players score 10 points or more.

The game’s story was the lack of defense and rebounding by CSUN; the Gauchos controlled the glass, out-rebounding the Matadors 44-33. CSUN allowed UCSB to shoot 53 percent for the night, going 15-29 from three. In comparison, CSUN shot a season-low 39 percent from the field and 55 percent from the free throw line while allowing a season-high 97 points. 

The Matadors then went on the road after their defeat to UCSB and fell to UC Riverside 82-63 on Saturday. CSUN will look to get back to their winning ways when Cal State Bakersfield visits on Thursday at 7 p.m on ESPN+.

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