Men’s basketball: Matadors beat Cal Poly in rematch, get revenge for embarrassing loss


CSUN guard Josh Greene dribbles into the paint of Cal Poly Wednesday night. Greene had a game-high 23 points as the Matadors won 94-81. Photo Credit: Mariela Molina / Photo Editor

Alonso Tacanga

CSUN guard Josh Greene dribbles into the paint of Cal Poly Wednesday night. Greene had a game-high 23 points as the Matadors won 94-81. Photo Credit: Mariela Molina / Photo Editor

As the last seconds of Wednesday night’s vendetta game against Cal Poly wound down, three Mustangs stared at CSUN guard Josh Greene dribbling into the heart of their defense.

The game was out of reach. Cal Poly had already waved the white flag, but Greene looked like he wanted to pour some more salt on the Mustangs’ wound.

“They disrespected us (in San Luis Obispo), so I just wanted them to feel what we felt,” Greene said of the ending to CSUN’s 94-81 win over the Mustangs at the Matadome.

The disrespect Greene was referring to was the one Cal Poly (15-12, 6-7 Big West) handed to the Matadors (7-17, 3-10) during a Jan. 21 game at Mott Gym. Behind insane three-point shooting, the Mustangs thrashed CSUN, 100-54.

“I don’t like when my team gets disrespected like that,” Greene said. “After this, I feel good. I feel at peace now.”

Greene, who led all scorers with 23 points, didn’t ruin his night by having an unsportsmanlike attitude at the end of the game. He drove into the paint but quickly stepped out of it and let the clock tick down as he dribbled the ball between his legs.

CSUN, which snapped a four-game losing streak, put itself ahead by giving the Mustangs some of their own medicine. The Matadors shot 62.5 percent in the first half and took a 44-43 lead into halftime. The lead would have been much larger had it not been for Cal Poly shooting 57.7 percent itself.

“They’re Division-I players,” Greene said. “They’re going to make shots.”

It was a different story in the second half for the Mustangs. While CSUN continued its offensive assault by making 52 percent of its shots, Cal Poly’s accuracy dropped down to 35.5 percent.

Cal Poly, which went 7-for-12 in 3-pointers in the first half, only made two of 13 three-point tries in the second. Forwards Chris Eversley and David Hanson had a combined 21 points at halftime. Their second-half scoring amounted to 10 points.

“We told (our guys) we had to identify shooters,” CSUN head coach Bobby Braswell said. “Make (the Mustangs) put the ball on the floor.”

The defensive contrast put CSUN ahead by double digits midway through the second half. Greene’s 3-pointer with 12:50 to go had his team up 62-52.

A 3-pointer from David Hanson cut CSUN’s lead to 70-65 with 7:43 to go. That was as close as Cal Poly got the rest of the night.

Things didn’t start off well for the Matadors. A Mustang 10-0 run gave them an early 15-10 lead. Worst of all: it looked like it was going to be another one of those struggling offensive nights for CSUN.

But then Vinnie McGhee happened. The CSUN senior brought his team back with 3-pointers and assists. Back-to-back treys and an assist to Michael Lizarraga gave the Matadors a 35-34 lead with 3:45 to go in the first half.

McGhee finished the night with 19 points and seven assists. He was also fueled by the sight of a team wearing a green jersey in front of him.

“I just had ‘100-54’ in my mind the whole time,” McGhee said.

Other motivated Matadors included forward Stephen Maxwell (16 points, 12 rebounds), guard Stephan Hicks (13 points) and Lizarraga (15 points).

While Braswell said a team playing for vendetta is bound to do “a dumb thing nine out of 10 times,” whatever feeling it was the Matadors played with on this night worked in favor of a little sweet revenge.

“I knew they weren’t going to forget (the loss at Cal Poly),” Braswell said.

And if anyone had, Braswell reminded them by writing “100-54” on the locker room board. He didn’t have revenge on his mind, though. Just coaching.