Spearheaded by redshirt sophomore guard Stephan Hick’s near-perfect night from the field, a balanced attack by the Matadors’ starting lineup extended their win streak to three as they edged out the hosting San Diego Toreros (2-1) 74-71 Thursday night in the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation challenge.
Hicks, who poured in 25 points on 9 of 10 shooting (7 of 9 from the free throw line), had a solid all-around game as he also pulled down eight rebounds and had a career-high seven steals on the night. He emerged as the game’s hero when he made key plays down the stretch, tallying three points, a rebound and a steal in the final 30 seconds of the game, giving CSUN (3-0) a chance to tie its best start ever (4-0 in 2007-2008) when they play Sienna tonight.
“This was really a good win for us,” said head coach Bobby Braswell in an interview with Northridge Athletics. “To win a road game against a good WCC (West Coast Conference) team was huge for our young team.”
Further adding to the mix was freshman center Tre Hale-Edmerson, who had the game’s lone double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 5 of 7 from the field. Sophomore forward Stephen Maxwell extended his double-figure scoring steak to three, finishing with 14 points on 40 percent shooting. Junior guard Josh Greene, coming fresh off a career-night where he doled out 13 assists, finished the game with just three assists, though he led Northridge in that department. He also chipped in 11 points.
Despite outrebounding the Toreros 40-24, the Matadors allowed nine treys to connect — five of them in the first half — allowing San Diego to cut into CSUN’s early 21-13 lead to go into halftime with just a two point deficit.
“The team jumped out to the big lead, but you kind of knew it wouldn’t last with this young group especially on the road,” Braswell said in the same interview. “But this team is tough. USD made a run to take the lead but we fought back to get the lead back at halftime. That was critical because our guys really played well. We challenged the team at halftime to play hard defensively. I thought we did a good job of doing that (in the second half).”
Northridge’s bench, which gave the team an offensive boost throughout the first two games, was relatively quite as it only combined for nine points and three rebounds.
The Matadors continue playing in the NUCDF challenge through Sunday before heading to Utah to play Brigham Young University on the 24th.