After Pacific defeated UC Davis, 72-57, on Feb. 25, it was merely a prolonging of a scary streak. The Tigers have beat UC Davis 47 straight times. Pacific’s gone from smack-talking to pitiful head-shaking.
‘Pacific is a tough venue for a lot of teams to play at,’ CSUN Head Coach Bobby Braswell said.
To Davis, Pacific is tough at Stockton, Davis, Anaheim or Mars. It’s been nearly 70 years since the Aggies have beaten the Tigers. It’s straight out of a horror movie.
The Matadors (14-12, 10-4 Big West), though not nearly as bad as Davis, also have a bit of a bone-chiller when facing the Tigers (16-11, 9-6). CSUN is only 4-16 in the all-time series and has never won at Stockton.
Northridge should have actually broken the Tiger curse last season. Up by 69-67 with 1.5 seconds to go and with Pacific out of timeouts, the Matadors should have been able to survive. As the curse had it though, the Tigers inbounded the basketball from their end of the court, had a Matador bat it down right to Pacific guard Michael Kirby and he sent the game into overtime with a difficult leaner at the buzzer. Pacific prevailed in the extra period, 78-73.
‘That’s all history,’ said CSUN forward Tremaine Townsend, who had 12 points that night.
The present actually has CSUN playing the Tigers’ guinea pigs, UC Davis (12-17, 7-8), first (tonight at 7 p.m.). The Matadors’ immediate focus is on an Aggies squad that’s gone 1-8 against them over the last five seasons, but that scared the living lights from them in their last meeting, an 84-81 CSUN win.
‘We remember,’ said Braswell of the Jan. 5 game in which CSUN had to dodge a potentially game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Matadors need to beat both the Aggies and Pacific (Saturday, 7 p.m.) in order to claim an outright Big West Conference regular-season championship. Long Beach State and Pacific itself are still in the running, but CSUN’s the only one in control of its own destiny.
Matador to watch: Tremaine Townsend, senior, forward
The Aggies hate seeing Townsend. In three career games against UC Davis, the forward’s averaged 20 points and 13 rebounds. Last season, at Davis, he had 21 points and 22 rebounds in a 77-57 win, becoming only one of seven players in school history to grab at least 21 rebounds in a single game. It’s no wonder Townsend calls matches vs. UC Davis his ‘lucky games.’ CSUN will be hoping that fortune continues and carries over to Stockton, where CSUN could be in a championship-deciding situation against Pacific.
vs. UC Davis (12-17, 7-8), Thursday 7 p.m.
Aggie to watch: Ryan Silva, sophomore, guard
The 5-foot-10 Silva doesn’t even average five points per game, but he alone was good enough to give the Matadors defense fits the last time the teams met at the Matadome. Silva, who scored a career-high 19 points in his team’s 84-81 loss on Jan. 5, gave CSUN a major scare in the game’s final seconds with a steal that led to a potential game-tier. When asked if he remembered Silva, Braswell rolled his eyes and said, ‘vaguely.
vs. Pacific (16-11, 9-6), Saturday 7 p.m.
Tiger to watch: Chad Troyer, senior, guard
Troyer was virtually invisible the last time Pacific visited the Matadome, playing a season-low 17 minutes and only scoring four points. That’s not likely to happen again. Troyer is the Tigers’ leading scorer at 11 points per game and has scored that or more in five straight games. In a match that could be for the championship, Troyer will take it upon himself to not let his last game at Stockton be the one where the Matadors break the ‘Tiger curse.’
That’s what he said:
Bobby Braswell, CSUN Head Coach On the two-game road trip that could clinch the championship:
‘We’re not satisfied. Our season’s not over yet. These are big basketball games for us, so we have be better than we were against Long Beach State (a 95-74 blowout’ win).’
Note: Both games against the Aggies and Tigers will be covered live at ‘The Matador Score.’ Also, check back immediately after each game for postgame recaps at www.sundial.csun.edu