Fullerton — It was mid October and the Matadors had just walked into a room smiling, ready to have some fun in the confinement of a backroom inside Matador Hall at CSUN. It was photo day. Grins as white as their brand-new home uniforms, and jokes (not nearly as white) were tossed around among the newly-assembled 2008-09 group that had been proclaimed by almost everyone as “No. 1” in the Big West Conference.
Months went by, and as long as CSUN wore those whites, No. 1 always came up No. 1. Because home equaled a win every time. Their black uniforms, however, although just as fashionable, brought nothing but L’s to their record. Seven of them, six of them belonged to a streak.
But then came Monday night. A day in which the lightness of their smiles met the darkness of their away jerseys in a big way. The Matadors (4-7, 1-0 Big West) blew out Cal State Fullerton 90-64 at Titan Gym behind a fiery, and almost unreal, 60 percent shooting from the field. The loss handed to the Titans was their worst at home in nearly seven years.
Northridge held its opponent to 35 percent shooting. Josh Akognon, the Titan ace who was third in scoring (25.5 ppg.)nationwide in games played through Dec. 21, didn’t even reach double-figures. He had eight points.
CSUN blasted the defending Big West champion right from the outset and led 10-0 with less than four minutes gone in the game. The Titans reacted and drew within 13-12, but that’s as close and as excited as they got their crowd the rest of their uninspired night. The Matadors had an ensuing 17-2 run to put the game out of reach and basically ink down road win No. 1 before halftime and before 2008 ended. More importantly, they are 1-0 in conference play.
Deon Tresvant led all scorers with 20 points. Rob Haynes followed with 17 and Willie Galick had a double-double (17 points and 13 rebounds) for CSUN, which made 14-of-22 three-pointers for the game.
Tresvant had two of the four consecutive treys the Matadors made good on to finish burying Fullerton. After the Titans got within 49-40, Northridge just couldn’t miss and made everything it put up. After Rob Haynes buried his last triple of the game with 12:30 remaining, the guys in black led by 23.
Josh Jenkins had eight points, eight assists and, to Head Coach Bobby Braswell’s delight, only one turnover. The point guard bounced back from a three-assist, seven-turnover game at San Diego State Dec. 22. Northridge lost that one by 72-56.
CSUN will play Pacific on Friday at home, where they’re 3-0.