You live by the zone, you die by the zone.
Behind the zone defense, Cal State Northridge built a second half double digit lead, but only to see it vanished with hot three-point shooting by Pacific, as the Matadors fell 74-64 at the Matadome Tuesday night in the Big West opener.
The Tigers, who struggled early against the zone, capitalized on the wide open shots, making 11-of-20 three-pointers (55 percent).
Tiger Jose Rivera had a career night with a game-high 18 points, all coming of 3-point baskets.
“Our heads dropped when he hit those three-pointers,” CSUN head coach Bobby Braswell said.
In the first half the Matadors frustrated the Tigers with the zone defense as they held Pacific to four points in the paint but allowed them to score 16 in the second period.
In the first half CSUN shot 50 percent from the field and converted on 11-of-22 shots. The Tigers shot 41.7 percent from the field and went 5-of-10 from three point range.
Matador Lenny Daniel had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Rashaun McLemore chipped in 16 points.
Sam Willard scored 17 points for Pacific.
The Matadors return to the hardwood on Thursday night against UC Davis at the Matadome.