The Matadors came into their game against the 16th ranked UCLA Bruins looking ready and inspired as they jumped out to an early 42-40 halftime lead.
The Bruins, however, fought back in the second half and overpowered CSUN, handing them a 102-87 loss, bringing the Matador’s record to 1-1 in the young season.
Head coach Reggie Theus felt his team competed and was just beat by a tough UCLA squad.
“I was really pleased with the effort, I was pleased our guys fought hard,” Theus said. “I think on the other side of the floor there was a moment when those guys had to go, ’oh, we better come out and play.’ Because that was a game that they needed to play well in the second half or it could have got away from them.”
The Matadors’ offense was clicking on all cylinders in the first half, but their attack started to sputter in the second half as they finished the game being outrebounded 31 to 44 and had only 10 assists as a team for the entire game.
A combined 53 personal fouls were called between the two teams. CSUN had two players foul out as sophomore forward Rakim Lubin and senior guard Aaron Parks racked up five fouls each.
Still, the Matadors felt this game may have been a moral victory moving forward.
“I feel like we played really hard and came out really aggressive in the first half, we punched them in the mouth,” Parks said. “As a whole we played hard, we played tough and physical, it just got out of hand a little bit.”
The Bruins had seven players in double figures led by senior guard Isaac Hamilton with 22 points. CSUN was led by junior guard Kendall Smith who had 21 points on 8-14 shooting from the field.
Junior guard Darin Johnson, who had 15 points in the game, felt that the effort in this game will carry over into their next game against Stanford University.
“It’s a confidence booster especially going to Stanford next another Pac 12 school, very good, very well coached,” Johnson said. “ I feel we should take that confidence and go into Stanford and play hard. This is a team that everybody is about the team, there’s no self-egos here and everyone is playing for each other.”
CSUN will play the Cardinals at Stanford on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.