Men’s basketball unable to stop Drexel guards, as they fall 75-63

Gilberto Manzano

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Vinnie McGhee tries to fight past Drexel defenders Kevin Phillip (21) and Gerald Colds in midst of the Matadors' 75-63 loss against the Dragons at the Matadome Friday night. Photo Credit: Jonathan Pobre / Executive Editor

Vinnie McGhee tries to fight past Drexel defenders Kevin Phillip (21) and Gerald Colds in midst of the Matadors' 75-63 loss against the Dragons at the Matadome Friday night. Photo Credit: Jonathan Pobre / Executive Editor

Cal State Northridge head coach Bobby Braswell said the perfect words to describe his team’s poor defense in a 75-63 loss against Drexel Friday night at the Matadome.

“We played like our feet were stuck in cement all night.”

The Matadors have now lost three games in a row and have given up an average of 84 points per game in that span.

Not playing a game in 10 days could be a reason why the Matadors (4-6) played poor defense, especially trying to slow down the Drexel (6-5) guards.

“Their speed and quickness really bothered us from the guard position,” Braswell said.

The Matadors, who are last in the Big West Conference in scoring defense, allowed 5-foot-10 Jamie Harris to light them up for a game-high 24 points. Alongside Harris in the backcourt, 6-foot-1 Gerald Colds scored 17 points.

Redshirt sophomore Vinnie McGhee had his hands full trying to contain Harris and Colds, since he was the only point guard for the Matadors.

“I played horrible (Friday) on the defensive end,” said McGhee, who scored 10 points. “I let my team down.”

Senior Mark Hill didn’t suit up against the Dragons due to a knee injury he sustained in Wednesday’s practice. Transfer guard Dathan Lyles, who is trying to recover from a lingering right ankle injury, missed his fourth consecutive game.

When Braswell was asked how long will Hill be out, he said “I don’t know much information I can give from a privacy standpoint. He is day to day.”

The Matadors went into Friday’s game shorthanded and didn’t help their cause when Kenny Daniels and Lenny Daniel missed most of the first half due to foul trouble.
With Northridge being down for a long duration of the game, they were able to tie it up at 46-all at the 13:49 mark in the second half.

Soon afterwards the Dragons went on a 12-2 run, but CSUN had one more burst left in them when they cut the Drexel lead down to four with five minutes remaining.
Harris provided the knockout blow by scoring six points in the final minutes of the game.

Harris, who is the Dragons’ leading scorer, did his part on the offensive side, but CSUN leading scorer Daniels continued his scoring struggles by recording 10 points and only getting to the charity stripe once.

On Dec. 3 against Idaho, Daniels exploded for a career-high 39 points, but since then he has only scored 22 points in his last three games.

“Kenny is not playing well right now,” Braswell said. “Everybody goes through a period of time when you slump a little bit. In order for us to be good he has to play better.”

After the game Daniels declined to be interviewed.

Daniels needs to turn it around quickly, as the Matadors will face the University of Colorado on the road on Tuesday.

The Buffaloes, who represent the Big 12, will be CSUN’s third major-conference opponent this season. The Matadors have already fallen to the Big Ten’s Purdue and the Pac-10’s Washington.

Colorado has a 6-4 record and is 5-0 at home.