It was less than two minutes into a game the Matadors had to wait more than a week to play when Josh Jenkins lost control of the ball and marked his first turnover of the game Thursday against Pepperdine.
And it’s going to be at least four more days for him to have another one, because that’s when CSUN (3-6) plays its next game, at San Diego State. The senior point guard made sure no ball escaped his grasp the rest of the night, assisted on 10 baskets and, along with Deon Tresvant – who broke out for a season-high 25 points – helped turn the rust of a nine-day layoff into a boosting 99-64 blowout of the Waves at The Matadome.
“I was just putting too much pressure on myself at the beginning of the season,” said Jenkins, who at a point was said to be the leading man for turnovers per game in the nation. “(Now) I’m letting the system work for itself.”
Following a forgettable six-game road trip in which he averaged 6.5 turnovers, Jenkins has put together back-to-back games of two-or-less giveaways. The point guard said he used all the talk about his struggles to encourage himself.
The poor Waves were just Jenkins’ lab rats on this night.
Pepperdine, who had battled Pacific 10 Conference power USC just three days earlier, came out swinging and put the Matadors in an early 13-8 deficit. Then, CSUN’s “rust” (as Head Coach Bobby Braswell called it) went away and the home team – led and assisted by Jenkins – blasted its rival with a 25-3 pretty-much-game-ending run. The Waves didn’t get closer than 13 points the rest of the first half and 23 points was its closest distance in the second.
CSUN led by as many 43 points. Tresvant helped that a lot.
The star reserve, who came into the game shooting just 30 percent from the field, made 10-of-17 shots and five three-pointers to bust out of his “slump.” His next highest scoring output had been 15 points at Cal State Bakersfield on Nov. 21.
“I’ve been struggling from the beginning,” Tresvant said. “But these days off I really took advantage and every night I was going to the gym and taking shots by myself. I guess when you practice, you get results.”
Willie Galick, who played for Pepperdine from 2005-07, had his first double-double of the season (14 points and 10 rebounds). Rob Haynes and Xavier Crawford each chipped in 11 points and Tremaine Townsend had the same number, but for rebounds.
CSUN shot 50 percent for the game and held the Waves, who lost their 10th straight, to 32 percent. Pepperdine, however, out-rebounded Northridge 51-44. Lorne Jackson and Keion Bell led them with 13 points apiece.
“These last couple of games have given our guys confidence,” said Braswell, whose team also blew out Denver on Dec. 9. “But obviously, we’re not overconfident.”
The Matadors matchup at San Diego State (7-3) on Monday will be the last before Big West Conference play begins. CSUN faces Cal State Fullerton on the road Dec. 29.