This time there were no coveted big men, no NBA scouts, no ESPN crew and no heart-stopping finishes. This time there was only a little brother doing big things.
In a rematch of last season’s ESPN BracketBuster game that then featured a skilled forward who went No. 12 in the latest NBA Draft and that came down to a last-second shot, there was no rematch. There was just Ryan Thompson, the brother of former Bronc and now-Sacramento King rookie regular Jason Thompson.
And as Ryan grew, the Matadors (1-4) shrunk. The 6-foot-6 Thompson scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds. CSUN couldn’t keep up on the road, was far from even challenging and lost 85-72 to Rider Saturday afternoon at Alumni Gym.
Tremaine Townsend led Northridge with 20 points and six rebounds. Seldom-used backup guard Matthew Wallace threw in a career-high 16 points.
The Matadors, as it’s become the trend, kept it close throughout the starting minutes of the games and even had a lead, 8-6, following a layup by Willie Galick (14 points). But the Broncs responded with an 11-2 run to take control of the game from then on.
Thompson had seven points in the span.
CSUN got within five in the first half but went into intermission trailing 41-31. Townsend scored a layup to start the closing period and make it just an eight-point deficit, but the Broncs went on another run, a 10-2 one, and cut down the visitors’ hopes of a comeback. The closest the Matadors got the rest of the afternoon was nine points.
Guard Harris Mansell, who led all scorers with 21 points in the game played at Northridge last season, had 14 points this time around. Forwards Mike Ringold and Novar Gadson each chipped in 10. Rider shot 44 percent from the field.
Northridge only managed to put down 40 percent of its attempts and was out-rebounded 46-35. Deon Tresvant went back to his shooting slump and was 1-of-10 for only three points. Josh Jenkins had nine points at halftime but went scoreless after that point.
On a positive note for CSUN, Jenkins had seven assists and turned the ball over only once ‘- something to remark since the point guard had been averaging eight a game.
It was only the second time ever these teams met, but also the second occasion in the past nine months. In the closing seconds of their 2007-08 match played Feb. 23, Tresvant had an opportunity to send The Matadome crowd into pandemonium. Off a Bronc missed free throw, Tresvant was given an outlet pass and fired a jumpshot from just inside the three-point arc that banked in, around and out of the basket just at the buzzer sounded.
The miss allowed Rider to escape with a 73-72 win. They’re now 2-0 all-time against CSUN.
The Matadors continue their six-game road trip today with a stop in Philadelphia to face Drexel at 4 p.m.