The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Matadors could not get a win against Pacific

The Cal State Northridge men’s basketball team lost both of their games against conference rival the Pacific Tigers and fell seven games behind in the Big West.

In the second of the two games, the Tigers held on to beat the Matadors 70-66 in front of 1,289 at the Matadome Feb. 25.

With the win, Pacific earned a tie for its third-consecutive Big West Conference regular-season title, while the loss dropped CSUN to 10-15 overall and 3-9 in the Big West.

“I told the players before the game that if we do not play hard, I guarantee that we will lose,” said head coach Bobby Braswell. “But if we play hard, it will give us a chance to win and we did that tonight.”

The first half was all the Tigers as they had a seven point lead four minutes into the game thanks to three three-pointers, two by Mike Webb. Pacific’s lead would extend to 12 with nine minutes left in the first half with a fast-break dunk by Anthony Brown.

CSUN, however, finally got its offense going when junior and leading scorer Mike Efevberha entered the game and cut the lead to five in two minutes.

Pacific, however, received a media timeout and talked over the break and came out and retook a 12 point lead with a minute left in the first half.

It was important for the Matadors not to go into the halftime break down by double-digits and with two seconds left, sophomore Jonathan Heard made a running layup to cut the Tigers’ lead to 35-26 at the break.

In the first half, Pacific shot 55 percent from the field and made four shots from beyond the arc. The Matadors shot 42 percent but made only one three-pointer and three free throws.

The first ten minutes of the second half saw both teams alternate baskets until the nine minute mark, when the Matadors cut the lead to five of a jumper by sophomore Calvin Chitwood.

With the crowd getting into the game, CSUN cut the lead to three of a Heard jumper from the right wing.

On the next Tigers possession, the Matadors forced a turnover by Webb and tied the game on three by junior Thomas Shewmake.

Head coach Bobby Braswell immediately called a timeout following the Shewmake three to talk about the defense that his team needed to play.

On the Tigers’ next possession, the shot clock was down and CSUN forced a tough shot by Michael White that was rejected by freshman Jason Hill. A foul, however, was called on Shewmake on the body that ignited the Matador bench and the crowd. White, however made both free throws and gave Pacific a 59-57 lead with three minutes to play.

On the Matadors’ next possession, Shewmake missed a layup with the shot clock running down and Heard missed a tip-in. Off a loose ball foul, Pacific came down and scored quickly off a Johnny Gray layup and pushed its lead to four with two minutes remaining.

CSUN, however, would not give up and cut the lead to two off a Heard jumper.

With the shot clock running down, the Tigers went to their senior star, Christian Maraker, who had been controlled by Chitwood the whole game. Maraker threw up a left handed hook shot from the left box that received a generous bounce and went in, pushing Pacific’s lead back to four.

Trailing by two scores and under a minute left to play, the Matadors needed a quick score but could not get it as Efevberha missed a contested three. CSUN fouled Gray immediately who made his two free-throws and extended the Tigers’ lead to six.

CSUN got one more basket and two free throws from Hill, but the Tigers made all but one free throw down the stretch and took the game 70-66.

“It has been a long time since I saw our team give a great effort,” Braswell said. “We laid everything on the line and had nothing left.”

Efevberha and Heard led the Matadors with 17 points while Hill contributed with 12 and Chitwood put in 10. Webb led the Tigers with 23 while Gray had 14 and Maraker helped with 10.

The Matadors shot 55 percent for the game, including 69 percent in the second half but let the Tigers shot 54 percent for the game.

In their first game against Pacific on Feb. 22, it was all Tigers as they routed the Matadors 79-51 at the Alex G. Spanos Center.

The 28-point loss was the Matadors’ worst in Big West play since joining the conference five years ago. The previous largest margin of defeat was 26 points when the Matadors lost 83-57 at Utah State on Jan. 17, 2004.

The Tigers got on the board first a minute into the game with a three by Webb. The Matadors got on the board a minute later off a Chitwood layup.

For the next seven minutes, the Matadors kept the Tigers in their sights, by not trailing by more than seven.

Pacific, however, began to pull away at the 8:35 mark when Webb hit his third three-pointer and extended the Tigers lead to 20-10.

Two minutes later, the Tigers pushed the lead to 12 with a Maraker jumper.

Pacific eventually pushed its lead to 23 off a Wolfgang Raffety jumper with two minutes left in the first half. CSUN cut the lead to 41-22 off an Efevberha layup at the halftime buzzer.

The Matadors shot 37 percent from the field in the first half, compared to 57 percent by Pacific. The Tigers shot 53 percent from behind the arc while CSUN only shot 20 percent from three-point land.

The second half did not help the Matadors as they fell behind by 29 three minutes into the second half off an Anthony Esparza layup.

Braswell called a timeout numerous times to try and gather the team, all attempts were unsuccessful as the Tigers pushed their lead with two minutes left in the game to 32, their largest of the game.

For the game, the Matadors shot just 31 percent from the field and allowed Pacific to shoot 59 percent. Pacific, however, almost shot as well from behind the arc as they did from the field, shooting 56 percent from three point land.

The only battle the Matadors won was the turnover battle. CSUN forced the Tigers into 15 turnovers compared to 14 of its own. However, CSUN was hammered on the boards 36-25.

Efevberha was the only Matador to score in double figures with 14 points. He added two assists and two steals, but was just 4-of-14 from the floor.

Webb ended with a game-high 24 points for the Tigers. Gray was the only other Tiger in double figures with 18 points. Maraker, the Big West’s leading scorer at over 18 points per game, was held to just six points but had game-highs with 10 rebounds and five assists

CSUN will next take on Cal Poly on March 2 at 7 p.m. at the Matadome. The Mustangs beat the Matadors 73-54 in San Luis Obispo on Jan. 28.

“I am concerned about the next two games that will get us ready for the fourth season,” Braswell said.

Justin Satzman can be reached at

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