CSUN point guard Josh Jenkins shook his head after his second 3-pointer of the night went in midway through the second half. Perhaps the point guard didn’t believe his eyes. After all, he had been shooting the ball at less than a 20-percent rate over the past four games.
‘I was looking at my teammates, shots were going. I was like ‘finally,” he said.
But his offensive anomaly went to waste. By the end of the night, it wasn’t just Jenkins not believing what he saw: 91-87. A Fullerton win. At The Matadome. For once, the senior’s offense was not to blame even remotely for another slip in the Big West Conference. If anything it was because of him CSUN (6-10, 3-3 BWC) even took a lead on this Wednesday night.
The Matadors had trailed by double digits throughout the match to a Fullerton squad that supposedly was all about Josh Akognon, the conference’s leading scorer, but, behind Jenkins’ 18-point second half, CSUN took a 69-65 with 8:19 remaining.
That wasn’t enough for a team that had dug itself out of a 13-point hole. Akognon answered the call with a 3-pointer to cut the lead. Then, his sidekick, a freshman of all things, buried CSUN.
Actually, he did that all night long.
Jacques Streeter did as he pleased with whoever guarded him. The first-year player scored 27 points, gave his team the lead for good with a free throw with 3:51 left, and helped maintain it with a jumper 170 seconds later to make it 86-82 in favor of Fullerton.
‘He probably had his highlight night,’ said Jenkins, who had 19 points and seven assists. ‘He was just taking it to me.’
CSUN cut it again to two, just so Akognon could reappear again seconds later to remind everyone that while the Titans aren’t just him, it is him who they go to when clock enters its golden age. The senior didn’t seal it by putting the ball in the basket, but he might as well have, given the position in which he left his teammate, Ray Miller, to make the game-cooling layup with 30 seconds left.
‘That was Akognon’s best play of the game,’ CSUN Head Coach Bobby Braswell said.
Akognon came into the night as the seventh highest scorer in the nation. It didn’t show for most of the night. At 23.4 points-per-game, a mark that tops the conference’s next highest scorer’s average by more than six points, the senior looked almost human, until crunch time, where his play-making abilities resurfaced.
It was a combination of experience (Akognon) and new blood (Streeter) for the Titans while it was a mix of defenselessness and questionable offense for the Matadors. At one point, in the waning moments, Braswell was so disgusted with his team’s attacking possession that he stomped the floor and yelled in frustration: ‘That’s not good offense!’
Tremaine Townsend (14 points and 13 rebounds) was also one of the best offensive options, but the senior fouled out with 2:13 to play. The game was lost long before that, though, Jenkins said.
‘We tried to make our way back in the second half, but it was too late.’
CSUN allowed Fullerton to shoot 51.7 percent from the field.
Two Matadors that weren’t in attendance for CSUN’s prior home game, vs. UC Davis Jan. 5, were back in the building on Wednesday, but did not play. Deon Tresvant was behind the Matadors bench in street clothes, same as Dallas Rutherford.
CSUN’s next game is Saturday. They will host UC Irvine.