Last week Cal State Northridge was filled with drama on the court and off the court. It started with a crushing one-point defeat to Long Beach State Thursday night, and then the next day their leading rebounder, Lenny Daniel, was suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.
The Matadors (8-13, 3-5 Big West) did end the week on a good note by pulling out a victory over UC Santa Barbara on Saturday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
CSUN will try to keep the momentum alive when they go on the road to face UC Riverside tonight.
The Highlanders (8-13, 2-7 Big West) will probably approach the game as a must-win situation since they are last in the Big West standings. The Matadors aren’t doing so well in the standings either, sitting in seventh place.
“We (both are) in the same position being desperate for a win, so it’s going to be a hard-fought game,” senior forward Willie Galick said.
With Daniel out, Galick made up some of the slack against the Gauchos by scoring 19 points and grabbing 9 rebounds.
The Matadors’ leading scorer Kenny Daniels, who averages 14 points per game, didn’t contribute much against UCSB. Daniels scored three points and went 0-of-3 from the field.
“We won against the Gauchos. It doesn’t matter if I score no points,” Daniels said. “Our system is meant for any guy to step up any night.”
Maybe Daniels can get out of his scoring funk versus the Highlanders, since the Matadors have an 11-game winning streak against them.
“Every time we play Riverside, we all play together,” Daniels said. “Last time (we played them) we kicked it at the right moment and stepped it up (for the win).”
Daniels had 17 points in the Matadors’ 64-50 victory over the Highlanders on Jan. 14 at the Matadome. That win was huge for CSUN because it gave them their first Big West victory.
UCR’s Kyle Austin had a game-high 18 points but failed to lift his team to a win when the game was knotted at 50. The Matadors ended the game on a 14-0 run.
Riverside is dead last in the Big West in scoring with 62 points per game, but CSUN gives up the most points in the conference with 76.