Matadors back into the win column with a strong showing
After being tied at the half, the Matadors took control of the game against Morgan State Bears and cruised to a double-digit victory.
Sophomore guard Micheal Warren helped lead the Matadors to an 88-74 victory over the Bears by scoring a game-high 28 points.
Warren had a complete stat line by shooting 56 percent from the field, leading the team in rebounds with nine and making all eight of his free-throw attempts.
“Teammates believed in me and gave me the ball in spots where they knew I could score,” Warren said.
After back-to-back three-pointers by guards Kendall Smith and Jerron Wilbut at the 16:48 mark in the first half Matadors held a 6-4 lead. The Matadors would go runs and build leads throughout the first half, but failed to pull away from the Bears.
The first-half is one that can be summarized as a constant tilt for consistency by the Matadors.
The Matadors saw a heavy full-court press at a few moments in the game and appeared to be comfortable.
At the half, the Matadors and the Morgan State Bears were tied up at 36-36. The first half was a contested scrap that featured tough defense, earned points and second-chance points.
The Matadors allowed nine offensive rebounds in the first but only allowed two more offensive rebounds in the second half.
“I thought in the first half we didn’t rebound the basketball very well,” CSUN head coach Reggie Theus said. “We did a much better job in the second half. I think that’s what allowed us to get out and really push the basketball.”
Sophomore guard Michael Warren led the Matadors with 12 points in the first half on three of six shooting from the field and making six of six from the free-throw line.
“I wasn’t trying to force it. I was just taking what the defense was giving me and that led to a great game,” Warren said.
Senior forward Tre Hale-Edmerson led the charge on the defensive side of the ball by having five blocks to go along with seven rebounds and frequent effort that was flashed throughout the game.
The Matadors scored 42 points in the paint to go along with shooting 83.9 percent from the free-throw line. making six of twelve from the three-point line.
“I thought the guys moved the basketball well and didn’t hunt shots,” Theus said. “Consequently, we didn’t force threes, we let the threes come.”
Collectively, the Matadors shot 49.1 percent from the field and made six of twelve from the three-point line while outscoring the Bears 52-38 in the second half.
Smith, a junior guard, scored 20 points to go along with six assists while showing off some sharpshooting by making three of six from the three-point line.
“I’m starting to find my flow a bit, last game I don’t think I had any rebounds or assists so this game I wanted to get into a good feel early,” Smith said.
Theus had an eight-man rotation that featured all eight having double-digit minutes and four of those players starring in 29 or more minutes.
The Matadors will remain at home on Wednesday, Jan. 6, against the Long Beach State 49ers, which will be their first Big West Conference tilt this season. The Matadors are now 4-2 at the Matadome.