Matadors blow out La Verne in first exhibition game of season

Alonso Tacanga

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What else could Matador Head Coach Bobby Braswell ask for? In just the first exhibition game of the season, his team held La Verne to under 30 percent shooting from the field, shot 50 percent itself and won by 33.’

Pretty good, right?’

If you ask center Tremaine Townsend, who led CSUN with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds in a 82-49 romping of the Leopards Monday night at the Matadome, he’ll only half-agree.’

‘(Braswell) will be somewhat satisfied,’ said the 6-foot-8 senior with an unsure smile. ‘Northridge defense is what we focus on and there were some missing pieces that we didn’t get done. ”

It’s hard to see where that could have been. The Matadors had 10 steals and forced La Verne to turn the ball over 19 times to add to their woeful shooting. They also outrebounded them 57-23. Guess when one plays under Braswell, a defense-first enthusiast, standards go up when you protect your basket.’

‘We’re not all the way there, where we should be,’ Townsend resumed. ‘But by Saturday (against Carroll College) and the few games coming, we’ll get where we need to be.’

The Matadors got off to a mediocre start and trailed 9-8 with just over five minutes gone in the game. Nevertheless, their six-foot sparkplug, guard Deon Tresvant, got them out of the diminutive hole immediately with a three-pointer to start a 9-0 run that opened the game for the home team. An Xavier Crawford sandwich-block of Leopard Brian Mancilla was just the beginning of a parade of defensive stops that sent Northridge into the locker room leading 44-24 at halftime.

The second half was just cruise control for CSUN. Very expected since everybody and their mothers have declared them No. 1 going into the season. Plus ‘- not to knock the Leopards’- but it didn’t help that they’re a Division III school.

That’s where Braswell finds the discrepancy with the stat sheet.

‘If you look at the statistics’hellip;you’d normally say I’m satisfied with that,’ he said. ‘We did some good things, but obviously our competition is not La Verne.’

What exactly did the Matadors do wrong? Braswell was on the money with this one. He noticed that the Matadors fouled too much. They gave the Leopards 18 free throw attempts, one of two categories in which they bettered CSUN (9). The other one was turnovers. Northridge turned the ball over an alarming 23 times.’

Many of those were passes to the post that CSUN big men couldn’t control, something Braswell was unpleased with. Townsend, his star tall dude, at least had an excuse. He was battling an aching stomach,

He didn’t perform so bad for a sick man.

”Trey’ has those kind of abilities,’ Braswell said. ‘He wasn’t 100 percent so we had to keep pulling him back and forth (out of the game). For a guy who wasn’t healthy, he did some good things on the floor.”

Townsend only had five points in the second half before finally taking a seat for good. Not that it mattered, anyway. The Matadors led by 30, 71-41, with just over eight minutes to go in the game and the advantage ballooned even more as the home team gave every player time to make their case for minutes once the regular season starts ‘- with the exception of guards Mark Hill and Vinnie McGhee, who are ineligible to play at the moment due to transfer rules. Junior Willie Galick started at forward and had nine points, the most behind Townsend, and tied with La Verne’s leading scorer, guard Billy Nicolini.’

Newcomer, freshman Dallas Rutherford did a decent job behind Jenkins, who said that ‘it’s not easy’ backing him up ‘- not that he’s trying to put himself up there or anything, he said – Rutherford finished with seven points and four assists. Junior Kenny Daniels airballed his first shot, but made his next three to finish with six points. Seven-foot center Xavier Crawford had four rebounds and a block.

‘ ‘We played poorly. We didn’t really execute, given that it was a Division III-team and pressure wasn’t as rough as it’s going to be during times in our season,’ said Jenkins, who was a perfect 3-of-3 from the field for seven points and added seven assists in 16 minutes. ‘We executed poorly, but its gives these (new) guys, who haven’t played Division I, a chance to get out there.’

‘ Well the Matadors played terribly, then. But they’re on pace. They like that, for the first game.