Men’s basketball: CSUN’s offensive struggles continue at UCSB

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Men’s basketball: CSUN’s offensive struggles continue at UCSB

Aqeel Quinn scored 12 points in CSUN's loss to UCSB. Photo Credit: Mariela Molina / Photo Editor

Aqeel Quinn scored 12 points in CSUN's loss to UCSB. Photo Credit: Mariela Molina / Photo Editor

Aqeel Quinn scored 12 points in CSUN's loss to UCSB. Photo Credit: Mariela Molina / Photo Editor

Aqeel Quinn scored 12 points in CSUN's loss to UCSB. Photo Credit: Mariela Molina / Photo Editor

Gilberto Manzano

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Aqeel Quinn scored 12 points in CSUN's loss to UCSB. Photo Credit: Mariela Molina / Photo Editor

SANTA BARBARA, Calif — CSUN held the two-time Big West Conference Tournament champion UC Santa Barbara under 70 points, and if you take Orlando Johnson out of the equation, the rest of the Gauchos only managed 48 points.

Despite the Matadors exceptional defense, they still found a way to drop their fourth game in Big West play.

In what has become a problem all season, CSUN’s horrendous offense paved the way for a 69-61 loss against UCSB Thursday night at the Thunderdome.

The Matadors (5-11, 2-4) shot a cold 33.3 percent (24 of 72) from the field and went a dismal 4 of 23 from three-point range (17.4 percent).

“It’s been our story all year, we just been having struggles scoring,” said CSUN head coach Bobby Braswell about his team, which is one of the youngest squads in the nation. “We’re a young team and guys are not use to things not going their way offensively. It just has bloomed into something mentally that you have to find a way through.”

The Matadors did almost find a way to beat the team that eliminated them from the Big West semifinals last season. CSUN had an 11-0 run to start the second half and a late push down the stretch to pull within seven points with one minute left.

However Johnson’s second half surge, where he scored 14 of his game-high 21 points, proved to be too much to handle.

“He’s a great player (Johnson), it’s hard to find a way to stop him,” said redshirt freshman Stephan Hicks, who scored a team-high 18 points.

Besides Johnson and James Nunnally’s 16 points, no other Gaucho scored in double-figures. UCSB (9-6, 4-1) went 26 of 53 from the field (49.1 percent) and 7 of 23 from long-range (30.4 percent).

For the second straight game, Braswell went back to his “5 to 1” defensive strategy, a method that worked in the victory over UC Davis Saturday night. The 5 to 1 is when the lineup on the court allows five points or one offensive rebound, Braswell will immediately pull out all five players for a full-team substitution.

Trailing 31-22 at halftime, CSUN came out hot to start the second period, going on a 11-0 run and took its first lead after freshman forward Stephen Maxwell completed a three-point play.

However, midway through the second half, the Gauchos took over with a 21-5 run to take a 57-40 advantage.

In the first half, the Matadors went 9 of 33 ( 27. 3 percent) from the floor and 1 of 8 from three-point range ( 12.5 percent). UCSB was just as bad on offense for most of the first period, but in the final minutes the Gauchos started heating up entering the locker room.

CSUN continues its road trip against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Saturday night.