The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Matador point guards take the blame for their pitiful offensive performance against Long Beach State

Mark Hill (3) drives past Casper Ware (22) at Walter Pyramid in a 65-52 loss to Cal State Long Beach Saturday. Hill had 10 points and five rebounds. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith / Staff Photographer

LONG BEACH, Calif. — In one of the ugliest offensive performances of the season, the Matadors committed 18 turnovers and managed only five assists en route to a two-game-winning-streak-snapping, 65-51 loss to Long Beach State on Saturday at the Walter Pyramid.

“We were so bad offensively, we must have broken the record for air balls (Saturday night),” CSUN head coach Bobby Braswell said following his team‘s sixth Big West Conference loss of the season. “We probably shot seven or eight air balls. It was ugly.”

It was that kind of night for Northridge (9-14, 4-6 Big West). It shot 19-for-47 from the field (40.4%) and went a dismal 2-for-14 from three-point range (14.3%).

From the get-go, the Matadors were out of sync offensively. That was due in great part to their point guards’ inability to set up plays. It got so bad that, at one point in the second half, Braswell called a play out to Vinnie McGhee, but the backup point guard seemed confused as to what Braswell was suggesting, and yelled out a different play.

A disgusted Braswell then turned back to his assistants and said, “What is he talking about?”

“It was confusing out there,” said McGhee, who had two points and two assists. “(Braswell) said one thing, I thought another thing. It was a mental lapse.”

CSUN’s other point guards, Mark Hill and Dathan Lyles, were shut out in the assist column. As a team, Northridge didn’t record a single assist in the second period.

“We (the point guards) didn’t control our team,” said Hill, who scored 10 points and had four turnovers. “In the beginning, we came out flat (and) made a lot of bad decisions. I put the loss on all the point guards.”

Point-guard defective and all, the Matadors stayed within striking distance in the first half. A buzzer-beating layup by forward Lenny Daniel, who played in his first game since being indefinitely suspended on Jan. 29 and scored nine points, allowed them to go into halftime trailing only 33-26.

But Long Beach State scored the first eight points of the second half and CSUN didn’t score its first points until the 14:54 mark, making a manageable deficit a hopeless one on a night of offensive ineptitude.

Braswell chewed out his team during almost every timeout of the second period, asking for toughness and better execution.

The only thing that kept Braswell from blowing up in the locker room afterwards was reuniting with retired NBA player Bryon Russell, who had his jersey retired by the 49ers at halftime. Braswell recruited Russell when the coach was an assistant at Long Beach State.

“That’s what probably cheered me up, seeing (Russell),” Braswell said. “I’m so proud of him. He is a guy who comes from a tough background and who has made it and been successful. He deserves this honor. He is a good man.”

Something else Braswell could feel good about on the night was his team‘s defense. The 49ers were held to 41.2 percent from the field overall and made only one 3-pointer in the second half.

49er forward T.J. Robinson had team-highs with 15 points and eight rebounds. Senior Stephan Gilling went 4-for-10 from behind the arc and finished with 14 points.

Daniels had a game-high 18 points (twelve in the first half) for CSUN.

The Matadors will take a break from Big West play and continue their road trip at Bakersfield to play the Roadrunners on Wednesday night. It’s the second meeting between the teams this season.

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