Matadors defeat Aggies to clinch a spot in the Big West Tournament

Gilberto Manzano

Kenny Daniels (20) goes up for a shot against UC Davis on Saturday night at the Matadome. Daniels scored a game-high 26 points. Photo Credit: Jonathan Pobre Contributing Reporter.

The defending Big West champion Matadors clinched a spot into the Big West Tournament after defeating UC Davis 70-66, Thursday night at the Matadome.

“We did everything we needed to do to win this game,” CSUN head coach Bobby Braswell said. “Our game plan was to give the ball to our big guys and have them attack. Willie (Galick) and Lenny (Daniel) were just outstanding in the post.”

Senior guard Kenny Daniels led all scorers with 26 points and picked up four steals. Senior forward Galick had 18 points and 14 rebounds. Junior forward Daniel chipped in 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

UC Davis (12-17, 7-8 Big West) was led by Mark Payne with 18 points and both Joe Harden and Dominic Calegari chipped in 14 points apiece.

The Matadors (11-19, 6-9 Big West) had a 10-point advantage after going up 63-53 with 4:50 left in regulation but later the lead relinquished to one when Aggie Julian Welch made a layup to bring the score to 65-64 at the 1:37 mark.

After Payne turned the ball over with 29 seconds left on the clock, Galick threw an inbound pass over his head to an open Daniels for a breakway dunk to extend CSUN’s lead to 67-64.

On the other end Payne knocked down two free throws to keep the Aggies within one-point.

On the Matadors next possession Galick was sent to the line for two free throws. Galick made the first one, missed the second but was able to come up with the offensive rebound.

Galick then dished the ball to Daniels, who knocked down two free throws to close the game.

For the game Northridge held the Aggies to 36.4 percent from the field and forced them into 18 turnovers. From three-point range the Aggies shot 5-of-21 (23.8%).

“Are defensive numbers were all in the right place,” Braswell said. “Davis is a good offensive team. We defended them well.”

Northridge will try to keep its momentum alive when they close out the regular season against Pacific at home, Saturday night on senior night. Seniors Galick, Daniels, Mark Hill, Vincent Cordell, Therin Taylor and Tony Osunsanmi will all get honored before the game.