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 snap five-game losing streak with win against UC Riverside

Coach Andy Newman, challenging his men to pick up their slack on defense at the Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif., on Feb. 3, 2024.

On the verge of extending their losing streak to six games, the CSUN Matadors (14-9, 5-6 Big West) came back to beat UC Riverside (8-15, 3-8 Big West) 76-70, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena on Saturday night.

Down by as many as 12 in the first half against the Highlanders, things could’ve gotten ugly quickly in the second half. Instead, the Matadors buckled down and went on a stellar second half comeback propelled by Gianni Hunt and De’Sean Allen-Eikens.

CSUN head coach Andy Newman expressed his excitement after the game about picking up the nail-biting win. “It feels great, it feels great,” he said. “It’s more of a relief than anything.”

After battling through a five-game losing streak, which included some ugly losses like an 8-point collapse against CSU Bakersfield at home and a 19-point loss to UC Riverside, the Matadors understood they needed to win.

However, despite the losing streak, the confidence from the Matadors was shining pregame. In fact, before the game started, one CSUN staff member said, “Oh yeah, we’re gonna get this one for sure, for sure.” Smiles were across every player’s face, and the players were taking turns seeing who could dunk the best during shootaround.

Hunt was feeling it early for the Matadors. He had 11 points at the half, and finished with 21 on the night. “In warmups I felt good, I noticed my shot felt good, my rhythm felt good,” Hunt said. “The ball seemed to just drop in today,” he added with a smile.

The first half was mired by missed shots from the Matadors. Allen-Eikens and Hunt were the only Matadors to make multiple shots from the field.

“We shot good shots in the first half, they just didn’t fall,” Newman said of the Matadors’ shot selection.

Allen-Eikens shot extremely efficiently, finishing with a game-high 26 points on 9-17 shooting from the field for an astounding 53%.

Isaiah Moses lit up CSUN for 30 points in their first matchup, and Riverside kept going to him early. Moses had 11 at the half. Things changed during the second period as the Matadors limited Moses to just six points. He finished with 17 on the night.

Newman said limiting the three was a key they worked on between games.

“We really defended the three ball well tonight, and we talked about it, and that is something they did well,” Newman said.

Hunt talked about how good it felt to gain a win for the first time in four weeks.
“It felt too good to get back in the win column, but we aren’t satisfied,” Hunt said. “We gotta stack the wins and keep stacking.”

Something to note about the last two home games for the Matadors has been the attendance figures. Against Bakersfield on Jan. 25, they had 1,110 fans, and against Riverside, the Matadors brought in 915 fans.

Compared to the figures of 345 and 387 in the first two home games of the season, it is clear that Newman’s squad is becoming the hot ticket in Northridge on game days.

Moving to 14 wins, the Matadors will seek win number 15 at home on Thursday, Feb. 8th against Cal Poly.

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