Bench player Vinnie McGhee scores 19 points to lift the Matadors to an 81-74 win over Cal State Bakersfield

Gilberto Manzano

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Roadrunner Santwon Latunde, center, follow Matadors Vincent Cordell, left, and Kevin Menner, upcourt. Menner scored 6 points.   Jonathan Pobre / Executive Editor

Roadrunner Santwon Latunde, center, follows Matadors Vincent Cordell, left, and Kevin Menner, upcourt. Menner scored 6 points. Photos by: Jonathan Pobre / Executive Editor

Lenny Daniel reacts after he scores a free throw in the second half.

Lenny Daniel reacts after he scores a free throw in the second half.

Heading into Monday night’s home opener, Cal State Northridge (3-3) head coach Bobby Braswell was getting inconsistent play from his point guards. The first few games of the season Braswell started his senior Mark Hill, but due to his poor play, he was forced to go in another direction with Dathan Lyles, who hasn’t done much to contribute.

After leaving the Matadome with an 81-74 victory over Cal State Bakersfield, Braswell could be making another switch at starting point guard. The redshirt sophomore guard Vinnie McGhee, who scored a team-high 19 points, came off the bench to provide a huge spark for the Matadors.

“I basically came in with a focus to come in and play my role, and if I have an open shot, I’m going to knock it down and play defense to help the team out to win the game,” McGhee said.

McGhee and the rest of the bench were able to give Northridge 38 points, and the Roadrunners were only able to provide 2.

To begin the game, the Matadors were getting punked by the Roadrunners in every way imaginable. Bakersfield was the schoolyard bully, and Northridge was the whimpy kid who couldn’t get a rebound to save his life. Bakersfield dominated the boards and owned the paint on both sides. In the first few plays of the game, CSUN was unable to convert on easy shots under the basket, as though they were scared to score on Bakersfield. The Runners led for the most of the first half and even lead by 10 points a few times.

When Matador Kenny Daniels was asked if the officials missed foul calls, he simply said “The ref wasn’t calling anything.”

Then the Mr. McGhee show took over. With an amazing spinning layup and three-pointers, McGhee was able to ignite CSUN to a 20-2 run to end the half.

The physical play continued for the Runners in the second half, with 14:24 left in regulation Bakersfield came roaring back to take the lead at 52-51. As the second period went on it became a free throw battle that CSUN won, converting on 24 compared to the Runners’ 14.

A couple of McGhee threes would seal the Victory for Northridge.

The Matadors continue their brief home stand Thursday against Idaho.