Seattle’s NBA prospect Garcia scores 34 but Northridge able to prevail to a 98-90 victory

Gilberto Manzano

Lenny Daniel (5) scored 11 points against Seattle University, Monday night. Photo Credit: Jonathan Pobre / Contributing Photographer
Lenny Daniel (5) scored 11 points against Seattle University, Monday night. Photo Credit: Jonathan Pobre / Contributing Photographer

There was a lot of buzz surrounding Charles Garcia and Seattle University visiting the Matadome on Monday night to face Cal State Northridge. Eight NBA teams sent scouts to see what the 6-foot-10 Garcia, who has been climbing up slots in the board of NBA prospects as of recently, is all about.

The forward probably helped his status by putting up 34 points and 14 rebounds, both game-highs, but it came in a losing effort as the Matadors (5-10) snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 98-90 win.
“It feels real, real, real good, real good (to win),” said CSUN guard Vinnie McGhee in relief as his team got its first victory since beating Idaho on Dec. 3.

McGhee, who scored a team-high 22 points, was one of four Matadors to score in double figures.
That included Rashaun McLemore’s 14 points off the bench. McLemore hadn’t played since Nov. 30 (against Cal State Bakersfield) due to a back injury.

“(McLemore) makes a big difference to our basketball team,” CSUN head coach Bobby Braswell said. “We missed his leadership and his presence in road games.”

With the Matadors’ frontline finally back to full force against the Redhawks (7-11), Braswell was able to throw everybody at Garcia. He needed to. The Los Angeles native had all of his weapons on display against the Matadors. He showed his defensive skills by guarding Kenny Daniels, CSUN’s leading scorer, to start the game. Then he showed his ability to handle the ball up the court.
“That guy is good, big strong body, handles the ball like a point guard,” said Lenny Daniel, who had the duty of guarding the future pro for most of the game.

Garcia had a few monster dunks that had CSUN fans in awe, but he was a one-man show.
“He scored a lot, but he also shot a lot,” said Daniel, who had a nice game himself with 11 points and 12 rebounds. “He tried taking (the game) into his own hands instead of trying to use his teammates.”
Northridge was able to hold a comfortable lead for most of the game, but got a scare in the final 1:40 when the Seattle cut the Matadors’ lead to 83-79.

The Redhawks extended the game by sending CSUN to the line in the final minutes. Northridge went 34-of-49 from the free throw line.
In contrast, Seattle went 23-of-34. Garcia made 12 of his 18 foul shots.
Braswell got his team ready for Garcia by interrelating him to Sacramento Kings’ 6-foot-11 forward Jason Thompson. The Matadors faced Thompson, then with Rider, at the Matadome on Feb. 23, 2008.
“I think (Garcia) is a better offensive player than Thompson is,” Braswell said. “I don’t expect him to play college basketball next year. He is a pro. No doubt about it.”

The victory over Seattle didn’t help the Matadors in Big West Conference play (they’re 0-3), but got the losing-streak monkey off their backs before Thursday’s home game against UC Riverside. CSUN is the only Big West team which has yet to win a conference game.