Northridge falls to Mustangs in nail-biter game

Gilberto Manzano

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Mark Hill (3), seen here against Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 16, scored a career-high 24 points in a 73-72 lost versus Cal Poly, Saturday night. Photo Credit: Jonathan Pobre / Contributing Photographer

The Cal State Northridge men’s basketball team had count less opportunities to steal a Big West game on the road Saturday night against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, losing 73-72.

After a long range three-pointer by guard Mark Hill, who had a career-high 24 points, the Mustangs (8-10, 5-2 Big West) lead was cut to 73-72 with 19 seconds left in regulation.

On the next play, Raymond Cody came up with a crucial steal on the Mustangs inbounds pass. Cody was then fouled with 16 seconds left on the clock and went to the charity strip with an opportunity to put the Matadors (7-12, 2-4 Big West) ahead. Cody missed both free throws, which started a scramble for the loose ball.

Northridge was able to come up with the ball but missed two short shots. Cal Poly was able to retrieve the rebound, as the Matadors fouled with two seconds left in regulation.

Cal Poly missed their free throw and Willie Galick grabbed the rebound. Galick passed it to Hill, who was unable to drain a 60-foot shot at the buzzer.

The Matadors went 24-of-59 from the field, shooting 40 percent for the game. Lenny Daniel was able to contribute 13 points and eight rebounds and Kenny Daniels chipped in with 12 points and eight assists.

The Mustangs were lead by senior Lorenzo Keeler, who had a team-high 23 points. David Hanson had 15 points and Shawn Lewis put in 11 points.

With the win, Cal Poly moved up the Big West standings and is half a game behind first place Pacific University. So far, the Mustangs are the surprise team in the Big West since they were picked by the media to finish last in the conference.

The Matadors were picked to finish third but have fallen to eight, tied with Long Beach State, the team picked to finish in first.

Northridge will try to get back on track Thursday at home against the struggling 49ers. CSUN will welcome UC Santa Barbara to the Matadome on Saturday.

Matador notes: Bobby Braswell was able to make the trip up to San Luis Obispo and coach his squad against the Mustangs. Braswell missed the previous game in Seattle to be near his son Jeffrey, who is in the hospital with malfunctioning lungs.