In an ESPN BracketBuster game, Cal State Northridge took more than just a break from its Big West schedule to host Drake University Saturday night. Apparently, to head coach Bobby Braswell, the Matadors also took a break on defense against the Bulldogs.
“I’m glad we could accommodate Drake and let them come down and have a scrimmage against us tonight,” Braswell said sarcastically after his team lost 90-80 to the Bulldogs. “That’s what it felt like defensively, we were awful. For us to score 80 points and shoot 45 percent from the threes and you’re at home your suppose to win that game. What it shows is how bad we were defensively.
Lenny Daniel was the only Matador (10-17, 5-7 Big West), who had a respectable game against Drake (13-16), as he recorded a double-double with a game-high 22 points and 10 rebounds. Braswell was so angry with his team’s defensive performance he didn’t even want to give Daniel’s credit for his play.
“No I don’t think (Daniel) played well,” Braswell said. “I don’t think he defended. I don’t think anybody played well.”
In a post game interview, Daniel said, “Coach didn’t give me no credit. He just told us as a team that we didn’t step up and the effort wasn’t there. He emphasized defense the whole time in his post game speech.”
The Matadors allowed Drake to shoot 52.9 percent from the field and gave up 12 three-pointers. Also, the Bulldogs went to the free-throw line 28 times and took advantage by knocking down 24.
Northridge kept it close in the first period by shooting 53.8 percent from the field and only being down 44-39 at halftime.
In the second half, the Bulldogs had no trouble with whatever defense Northridge threw at them.
“In the four possessions we played zone they scored on all four of those, so we didn’t go back to that,” Braswell said. “In our man-to-man they scored. Against our press we had some success (but) we committed fouls, at least that’s what the (referees) said.”
Throughout the game, CSUN had trouble adjusting to the way the referees, from the Missouri Valley conference, called the game. Daniel felt the officials were quick to blow the whistle on many of the foul plays.
“They called it very tight,” Daniel said. “A lot of hand check fouls and ticky tak fouls. You can’t let the ref decide the game for us. We just have to man up and play defense.”
Even though the Matadors didn’t show up against Drake and have already suffered more losses than last year, they still have a chance to climb up the conference standings and get a higher seed in the Big West Tournament.
CSUN goes on the road to face UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday night and UC Irvine Saturday night.