Following one of the few turnovers CSUN had Tuesday night, starting forward Willie Galick fell to the floor grimacing in pain and placed his hand near his ankle as an injury timeout was called. He hopped on one foot to the bench, possibly dropping Head Coach Bobby Braswell’s blood pressure a few dots.
A few minutes later, he was hopping again, but back on the court, and it became official: the only thing that could have spoiled the winning return of the Matadors home was just a scare and CSUN is again on the right track.
Northridge (2-6) came back to the scene of their then-last victory nearly a month ago and found an answer to their fans’ question ‘Are we ever going to win again?’ by obliterating Denver 80-53 at The Matadome.
‘It means a lot,’ said center Tremaine Townsend, whose 14 points helped CSUN snap a six-game losing streak. ‘But we still know where we’re at. We know what we got to do to keep on succeeding.’
Winning in a rout was step 1 of that and it came easily. Facing a team which has an age-average of under 19, the Matadors took advantage early and often. Less than seven minutes had ticked off the game clock and CSUN was already up by double digits, 12-2.
The Pioneers eventually found someone who could hit a shot ‘- mainly Rob Lewis, who led all scorers with 18 ‘- and managed to keep the score decent. Northridge went into halftime leading 35-22.
CSUN scored the first basket of the second and Denver never got closer than that the rest of the way. The Matadome crowd, who had waited 25 days to see its home team again, was able to see its Matadors defend the home court. CSUN is 2-0 in the building.
‘One thing coach (Braswell) tells us to do is to protect our house if we want to win the conference championship,’ said point guard Josh Jenkins, who went back to the starting lineup after a brief two-game stint as a reserve player. ‘That’s one of our main goals this year: to focus on getting wins at home.’
It was Jenkins himself who made it happen this simply for CSUN. The point guard had 13 points of his own, but the stat line that mattered most was the assist -turnover ratio: 9 -2 ‘Josh was as good as he’s been all year,’ Braswell said. ‘He made big plays and easy plays. He got the ball to people that were open. He was like a general out there.’
‘When he plays that way we have a chance to be successful.’
Jenkins came into the game as one of country’s leader in turnovers. No point guard wants his name next to that label, so he decided to do something about it, he said.
‘ ‘Just all the naysayers over there,’ Jenkins said when asked what the difference for him personally during Tuesday’s game. ‘From the Daily Sun(dial), to the fanatics, to all the polls that say I’m No. 1 in the nation in turnovers. I felt I had to prove that I’m a much better point guard that I’ve shown previously.’
He did and thanks to that ‘- along with 14 points from Galick and 13 from Tresvant ‘- the Matadors got the losing monkey off their backs.