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 end Big West tournament with loss to Hawaii

Aliyah Hinckley
File photo. Guard Dionte Bostick, 0, dribbles to the hoop, takes it up and gets fouled by a Cal Poly SLO defender, shooting guard Quentin Jones, 1, on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif.

It was a season to remember for the CSUN men’s basketball team, but eventually, all good things come to an end.

The Matadors saw their season end Thursday night at the Dollar Loan Center, falling 75-68 to University of Hawaii in the quarterfinals of the 2024 Big West Basketball Championships.

In his last time wearing a CSUN jersey, De’Sean Allen-Eikens fittingly ended his season as the game’s highest scorer, finishing with 22 points.

After the game, CSUN head coach Andy Newman choked up when talking about the impact Allen-Eikens had on the program.

“What he did for us, for my family personally and for the program, putting it on the map… as a coach, that’s gold,” Newman said.

The Matadors battled through injury and fatigue throughout most of the game as they came off a physical outing against UC Santa Barbara the night before in overtime.

It was easy to see that playing the night before took a toll on the Matadors physically. While Hawaii looked fresh and rested, CSUN looked a bit winded early on.

Newman was honest when asked if the quick turnaround was a factor for the team.

“Yeah, it was certainly tough… it was a tough turnaround for our guys. I thought they came out early and showed some passion… but it was hard ending one game and tipping off 18 hours later,” Newman said.

After shooting 8-19 from three the night before, the Matadors came out flat offensively. Allen-Eikens was the only player from the Matadors to make multiple 3-pointers, but he only made two.

CSUN finished the game shooting a paltry 3-17, or 17 percent, from three on the night.

On the other hand, the Rainbow Warriors had one of the best nights shooting from three. The team exploded for 10 threes and shot 41 percent from behind the arc. To put that into perspective, the team averages 34 percent from deep.

CSUN used their early energy to take a quick 10-3 lead early in the first half, but it was just one of those nights for the Matadors where they struggled to defend the perimeter.

With 6:32 left in the first half, JoVon McClanahan squeezed by the defense and gave Hawaii the lead 26-25.

The Rainbow Warriors never looked back as they went into halftime up 36-30 and looked in command as the Matadors started to run out of gas.

CSUN was forced to play catch-up the whole second half. They got close a handful of times throughout the half, but Hawaii made timely shots to keep the Matadors at bay.

In one sequence midway through the second half, the Rainbow Warriors relied on back-to-back threes to fend off the CSUN comeback attempt.

Juan Munoz and Justin McKoy, who both finished 3-6 from behind the arc, were instrumental in the Rainbow Warriors’ shooting performance. Munoz ended with 11 points and McKoy ended with a team high of 16 points.

Hawaii lost the following day in the semifinals to second-seeded UC Davis, 68-65.

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