Cal State Northridge finally prevails over a major-conference team, however, against the Big East’s bottom feeder, but still a victory of many records.
The Matadors led wire-to-wire in a dominate victory over DePaul, 88-66, in the second day of the 76 Classic at the Anaheim Convention Center on Friday afternoon.
“With such a young team not sure which team was going to show up but I will tell you I liked this one tonight,” said CSUN head coach Bobby Braswell referring to his team’s recent inability to play solid for two halves in a game. “We played our first 40-minute basketball game this year. I’m proud of the effort and energy.”
After falling to three major-conference opponents (UCLA, Cal, Virginia Tech) this season, the Matadors (2-3) broke through in a big way against the Blue Demons (1-3). Northridge’s 88 points tied the record for most points in a regulation game in the 76 Classic.
Arizona State is the other record holder in a win over UTEP in 2008.
With slow starts versus the Bruins and Hokies, CSUN made sure to come out blazing from the get-go. The Matadors made their first 10 shots from the field and didn’t miss until the 11:18 mark.
CSUN’s dominance continued throughout the half and at one-point was 17-of -19 from the field. The Matadors shot 76 percent from the field in the first half to set another record in the 76 Classic.
Braswell credits point guard Dathan Lyles, who contributed nine points and seven assists, performance as they reason why the Matadors got off to a fast start.
“Dathan [Lyles] really set the tone, he was the one that control the pace of the game,” Braswell said. “Dathan superbly ran our team tonight.”
With eight freshmen on the roster, Braswell relied heavily on the seven veterans. Senior forward Lenny Daniel had a huge game, scoring 31 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
In the 76 Classic’s four years existence, Daniel had the third most points in a single game. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s James Harden set record in 2008 when he scored 40 points for Arizona State in a win over UTEP.
Daniel, who had a sluggish start to the year, now has the most points for a double-double in 76 Classic’s history.
“I started off slow last year and I started off slow this year and it’s not to excuse my performance, but it gives me a chance to get offensive rebounds and score easy buckets,” said Daniel about his game against DePaul. “And they tried to play with me with bigger guys and I saw some advantages and tried to use my quickness.”
Overall Northridge shot 60.7 percent from the field compared to the Blue Demons 44.3 percent.
CSUN’s biggest lead in the game was 30 points and the Blue Demons head coach Oliver Purnell said “no energy” was the reason for the big lead.
With the win CSUN is the only Big West team to prevail on the second day of the tournament.
Next up the Matadors will face the winner of the Stanford-Tulsa game on Sunday afternoon.