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 drop third straight, move to .500 in conference play

Matador guard Dionte Bostick, 0, struggled behind the three-point line against Cal State Bakersfield in Northridge, Calif., on January 25, 2024.

Andy Newman’s squad is facing a confidence issue.

The Matadors have now dropped three games in a row after Thursday night’s loss to CSU Bakersfield 64-56 at the Premier America Credit Union Arena.

Newman put it bluntly after the team’s loss.

“We got to get our confidence back,” he said postgame.

The Matadors came into this one on a two-game losing streak, with losses against UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside by nearly 20 points each. They needed a win against the Roadrunners, who came into the game second-to-last in the Big West standings.

Instead, they ran into a gritty Bakersfield squad that gave the Matadors fits all night long. CSUN’s starting five combined for 19 turnovers, and the team as a whole finished with 24. A handful of them came from unforced errors.

Both teams had an ugly night shooting the ball. CSUN shot just 3-16 from behind the arc, while Bakersfield didn’t make a shot from three, finishing 0-11.

Despite a slow offensive start by both teams, the Matadors went into halftime up by nine.

However, after the half, the Roadrunners looked like a different squad. They started shooting the ball a lot more effectively and made the most of their open looks on offense.

Kaleb Higgins played like a man on a mission in the second half for Bakersfield. Higgins only had two points in the first half, but finished with a game-high 19.

CSUN had double-digit turnovers in both halves, but the second half is when their carelessness with the ball started to come back and affect the game. In the middle of the second half, the Matadors turned the ball over seven times during a five-minute period.

Newman was not pleased with the way his team handled the ball.

“We gotta take care of the ball, get back to being aggressive, and stop second guessing ourselves,” Newman said.

Higgins sealed the game for the Roadrunners almost single-handedly. The final five minutes of the game saw Bakersfield take the lead, but Higgins exploded for eleven points including the go-ahead free throw with a little less than three minutes left.

Moving forward, the Matadors will look to close out the month of January with a matchup against UC Irvine on Jan. 27. Newman will need his squad to wake up especially in the last full month of regular season basketball.

A big goal for the Matadors still remains viable with about 12 games left. 20 wins. Something that hasn’t happened since the 2007-08 season. If the Matadors find their groove back before it’s too late, this upcoming month of February could be one to remember for the Matadors.

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