In one of the wildest games at the Matadome, Cal State Northridge’s inability to box out and get crucial defensive stops cost them a 113-112 triple overtime loss against Cal State Fullerton (13-11, 7-5 Big West), Saturday night in Big West play.
With four seconds remaining in the third overtime and CSUN (9-16, 4-7 Big West) up 112-109, Titan Gerard Anderson made his first free throw and intentionally missed the second one. Junior guard Eric Williams, who only entered the game because Jacques Streeter fouled out a few minutes earlier, was not boxed out and grabbed the offensive rebound to make the game-tying basket, as he got fouled by Raymond Cody. Williams finished the extra-point play by knocking down the game-winning free throw.
“We found another way to lose a game,” CSUN head coach Bobby Braswell said after his team lost their sixth game that was decided by three points or less this season. “We didn’t show toughness tonight and didn’t get the (defensive) stops when we needed to get the stops.”
The Matadors had countless opportunities to get the victory but defensive let downs hurt them down the stretch, as the Titans knocked clutch shots time after time.
Northridge was up 97-94 with 15 seconds left in the second overtime and Vincent Cordell had an opportunity to extend the lead to four but missed a free throw to keep Fullerton alive. On the next play Devon Peltier was doubled team by CSUN and passed the ball to Streeter, who was wide open to knock down the game-tying three-pointer.
Northridge also had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, as they were up 76-73 with four seconds remaining but Peltier drained a three-point basket to take the game into the first overtime.
On the offensive side, the Matadors had five guys scoring in double figures but had 23 turnovers and only 14 assists. Kenny Daniels went 9-of-20 from the field and had a team-high 25 points.
“I thought we played very selfishly on the offensive end,” Braswell said. “We got away from scoring in the paint.”
The Matadors went into halftime up 44-32 mainly because they outscored the Titans 24-2 inside the paint. The second half in the three overtimes CSUN only scored 26 points.
Their scoring big man Willie Galick fouled out in the second half and Lenny Daniel picked up his fifth foul in the middle of the second overtime.
Eleven players fouled out in the game that led to a ton of free throws. The Matadors went 37-of-49 and the Titans made 44-of-61 from the charity stripe.
Matador senior Mark Hill led the team in free throws by going 12-of-14 and finished with 18 points. Hill will try to learn from the mistakes his team had against Fullerton and move on to the next game.
“We are not going to hang our heads, the season is far from over,” Hill said. “It came down to getting one stop and a box out. We didn’t get the stop or the box out. It hurts in all three overtimes.”
It was only the second time that the Matadors were part of a triple overtime game, with the first being on Nov. 19, 1982 a 94-91 victory over Cal State Stanislaus.