CSUN’s second half surge falls short against Virginia Tech in 76 Classic

Gilberto Manzano

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Rashaun McLemore loses the ball for one of the 18 turnovers CSUN committed in the first half and a total of 25 against Virginia Tech Thursday afternoon. Photo credit: Monique Muñiz

After losing to their third major-conference opponent this season, the Matadors walked off the Anaheim Convention Center court hearing the Virginia Tech fans chant “ACC, ACC, ACC.”

It was as if the Hokie faithful were letting CSUN know that they can’t compete with the six-major conferences.

Head coach Bobby Braswell disagrees.

According to Braswell if the Matadors are able to play solid basketball for 40 minutes they can compete with any team in the nation.

“It was a tale of two halves. Wasn’t sure who we were in the first half of that game but in the second half I thought our guys really stepped up,” said Braswell after CSUN lost to Virginia Tech, 72-56, Thursday afternoon in the 76 Classic. “We have yet to put two good halves of basketball together and I think when we do that we will be okay.”

With a 22-point deficit, the Matadors were able to cut the Hokie lead down to 10 points twice in the second half.

Guard Vinnie McGhee provided a spark off the bench for CSUN, scoring 11 points and shooting 3-of-4 three pointers in the second period.

“Whenever my name is called I just have to play hard and give it a 110% effort,” redshirt junior McGhee, who scored 14 points, said. “Every time I shot the ball, I thought the ball was going to go in.”

CSUN’s first run started on an 8-0 run led by Rashaun McLemore, who scored a team-high 17 points, and McGhee’s 3-point baskets. The Matadors trailed 50-40 with 10:18 left in regulation.

Dorenzo Hudson, who scored 12 points in the second period, helped the Hokies increase their lead to 15 points.

CSUN’s final run came late in the second half with 1:08 left in the game. McLemore’s five consecutive points brought the lead down to 66-56.

Virginia Tech closed the game on a 6-0 run.

Northridge finished the game with 25 turnovers and only nine assists. The Matadors went 17-of-51 from the field (33.3%) compared to the Hokies shooting 29-of-55 (52.7%)

Hudson had a game-high 20 points and the Hokie’s leading scorer Malcolm Delaney chipped in 17 points.

Similar to how the Matadors started at UCLA (Nov. 12), CSUN was out of sync offensively.

Northridge struggled to score as the Hokies jumped out to an early 7-0 advantage.

The Matadors played sloppy throughout the first half with 18 turnovers compared to only two assists.

In nearly every possession CSUN had trouble completing passes. When they tried passing the ball into the paint it went out of bounds, if they passed the ball on the perimeter it seemed the Hokies always got a hand on it.

After the score was 20-10, Virginia Tech went on a 9-0 run to bring its lead to 29-10. The Hokies went into the locker room up 38-18 after Delaney drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The Matadors return to action Friday afternoon to face DePaul, who lost to Oklahoma State.