Big West-best Matadors get conference nods

Alonso Tacanga

CSUN Head Coach Bobby Braswell was named the Big West Conference’s Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season on Monday.

Braswell, who compiled an overall record of 15-13 (11-5 in the Big West) and led the Matadors to a conference regular-season championship and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming tournament this season, was humble when accepting the recognition.

‘I’m just blessed I’ve had a group of guys that bought into the system,’ Braswell said in a teleconference call.

The coach was not the only CSUN representative to be honored by the Big West. Forward Tremaine Townsend, who ‘- among active players ‘- leads the Matadors in scoring at 11.1 points per game, was selected to the All-Big West First Team. The senior was also the conference regular season’s top rebounder at 8.3 rpg. and with that, became the first player in Northridge’s history to lead the Big West in the category for back-to-back seasons.

Guard Josh Jenkins, who was injured in a car crash which ended his season on Feb. 14, earned himself a Big West Honorable Mention despite having missed the past six games for CSUN. Jenkins’ average of 6.1 assists per game ended at the top of the conference’s assist-per-game list.’ CSUN senior Rob Haynes, who averages almost 10 points per game, got the same accolade as Jenkins.

Cal State Fullerton’s guard Josh Akognon won the Big West’s Player of the Year honor along with a selection on the conference’s First Team next to Townsend. Larry Anderson of the 49ers was named Freshman of the Year and also made the First Team. It was only the second time in the Big West’s history that a freshman was selected among the conference’s top six players.

The rest of the conference’s First Team was composed of forward Kyle Austin of UC Riverside, guard Vince Oliver of UC Davis and forward Chris Devine of UC Santa Barbara.

As the No. 1 seed in the Big West Tournament, which lasts from Wednesday until Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center, the Matadors got two byes directly into the Friday semifinals. CSUN will know who its rival will be on Thursday night. That adversary will not be No. 3 Pacific or No. 2 Long Beach State.