After starting the season 2-0, the Matador men’s basketball team spent the holiday weekend in Berkeley at the Golden Bear Classic, losing to the Northeastern Huskies in the Matadors’ first game before going on to beat Northern Colorado.
CSUN trailed most of the game and was never in the lead in the second half against the Huskies. Northeastern beat the Matadors 102-81, which was the most points given up by CSUN in 162 games and five-plus years.
“Northeastern is a good, veteran-tested team,” said Matador head coach Bobby Braswell. “They shot well and we did not get our defense settled, and some of our guys just did not show up.”
CSUN junior Mike Efevberha finished the night with 23 points and six rebounds, becoming the first Matador in school history to open a season with three-straight 20-plus scoring games.
Junior Thomas Shewmake was the only other Matador to score in double digits with 13 points. He completed his first double-double of the season with a game and career-high 16 rebounds. Shewmake’s 16 rebounds tied for the second-most rebounds in a game in CSUN’s Division I history, with former Matador Etoagwara Onyenegecha’s 16 at Pacific on Feb. 28, 2004.
Northeastern had five scorers in double digits, led by Bobby Kelly’s 23 points. Jose Juan Barea finished with 19 points and nine assists, while Shawn James and Janon Cole each had 14 points and eight rebounds. The Huskies also got 12 points from Aaron Davis.
The Huskies forced CSUN into 29 turnovers and a shooting ratio of just 38 percent from the field. Northeastern shot 52.1 percent from the field, but were out-rebounded 45-26.
For the Matadors, the loss was their first of the season, bringing the team’s record to 2-1.
The Matadors did not have to wait long to get back to their winning ways, beating Northern Colorado 82-73 in the consolation game of the Golden Bear Classic.
CSUN led 43-39 at halftime on the strength of nine points by Efevberha, eight by Shewmake and seven by junior Terrell Jones. Northridge shot 60.9 percent from the field, but committed 11 first-half turnovers.
In the second half, the Matadors trailed 57-52 after a three-pointer by Erik Olson with 10:30 left. Then the Matadors went to work, engineering a 10-0 run to regain the lead at 62-57. Junior Keith Everage scored on a three-point play and then hit a pair of free throws to tie it at 57-57 with 8:53 left in the game.
Shewmake hit a pair of free throws at 8:12 and junior Jayme Miller got a steal and converted a three-point play to cap the 10-0 run, as CSUN never looked back.
“I did challenge other guys to step up,” Braswell said. “If we execute on offense, we get more people in double figures – besides Mike (Efevberha).”
Efevberha led all scorers with 18 points, while Shewmake had his second straight double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Miller also chipped in with 11 points.
“Thomas is getting healthier every time he plays,” Braswell said. “He played extremely well, and the team is starting to count on him, which is why he started the second night.”
For the Bears, Michael Gordy led the team in scoring with 17 points. Kirk Archibeque had 16 points and eight rebounds, while Olson finished the night with 15 points.
For the game, Northridge forced 31 turnovers, but gave up 20. Northern Colorado out-rebounded the Matadors 33-27 and out-shot CSUN 55 percent to 49 percent from the field. However, the Matadors helped their cause by making 25 of 33 from the free throw line to propel them to the victory.
The Matadors will return home to take on Hope International on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. on Wells Fargo Court at the Matadome.
Justin Satzman can be reached at email@example.com.