CSUN unable to jump the Husky sleigh

Gilberto Manzano

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John McLellan / Courtesy of the UW Daily Cal State Northridge’s Willie Galick, right, fouls Isaiah Thomas on a drive in the second half of the Matadors’ 88-76 loss to Washington Sunday evening at Bank of America Arena.

Cal State Northridge’s Willie Galick, right, fouls Isaiah Thomas on a drive in the second half of the Matadors’ 88-76 loss to Washington Sunday evening at Bank of America Arena. Photo Credit: John McLellan / Courtesy of the UW Daily

The last time the Matadors faced a top-10 team on the road was the season opener against Purdue, where they got their heads rung. This time around, in Seattle, the Matadors were in contention for the victory.

Sunday night the Matadors’ three-game winning streak was snapped by then-No. 10 Washington (6-1), losing 88-76 at Bank of America Arena.

Early in the second period, Mark Hill got his teammates into a huddle. Husky Quincy Pondexter tried to walk through the huddle, prompting a shove from Hill. The officials gave both players technical fouls, forcing CSUN head coach Bobby Braswell to replace Hill with Vinnie “The Microwave” McGhee.

Hill’s technical foul was the best thing that happened to CSUN (4-4).

For the third straight game, McGhee gave the Matadors a spark off the bench, living up to his Microwave nickname given to him by Braswell, referring to Vinnie Johnson, a key player on the Detroit Pistons team that won NBA titles in 1989 and 1990.

The six-foot guard McGhee was a major reason why Northridge went on an 11-0 run. During the stretch, McGhee knocked down a big three-pointer, followed by a fastbreak bounce pass to Lenny Daniel, who jammed it in for the bucket, and a left-handed scoop high off the glass to cut the Huskies’ lead to 48-47 with five minutes gone by in the second half.

The Matadors were bringing back flashbacks from last season’s NCAA tournament game against Memphis, where they fell short of the upset.

Once again there was no upset for CSUN as the Huskies went on a 17-2 run after McGhee’s scoop layup. Pondexter, the lone senior on the Huskies squad, started the run with a three-point basket and then recorded a steal off a McGhee pass to Daniel. On the fast break, Pondexter dished it off to Matt Bryan-Amaning, who dunked it in.

Senior Kenny Daniels, who had a career-high 39 points against Idaho Thursday night, only had seven points. Daniels saw double teams by Washington all night long and was only able to put up seven shots.

The junior forward Daniel had a career-high 24 points, and the Microwave McGhee finished with 14 points for the second consecutive game.

The Huskies finished the game with 23 offensive rebounds, leading to many second-chance points. Washington had 50 boards compared to CSUN’s 30.

Last season’s Pac-10 Freshman Player of the Year Isaiah Thomas had a team-high 21 points. Thomas went to the charity strip 15 times and was able to convert 13 free throws.

For the second straight game, Rashaun McLemore and Dathan Lyles didn’t suit up due to injuries.

Tonight Northridge will end their two game road trip against the University of Denver (5-2).

Nate Rohnert is the Pioneers’ leading scorer with 18 points. Denver is coming off a 64-59 loss to Colorado State.

Catch radio play-by-play with Alan Zinsmeister at gomatadors.com. Tip off is set for 6 p.m. Pacific.