If you happen to have been surfing cable Saturday night, you probably had to check yourself into the emergency room to treat heart attack-like symptoms.
First, you were probably shocked to see the CSUN men’s basketball team play on national television, as opposed to the local channel, LA36.
Second, you were probably amazed to see CSUN giving host University of Pacific, ranked No. 18 in the nation, a tough time in the first half, live on ESPN2.
But, if you stuck around until the end of the game, you would have been heart-broken to see the Matadors lose momentum, en route to a 75-61 defeat in front of a sold out crowd at Alex G. Spanos Center in Stockton.
The Matadors (15-11, 11-5) certainly had momentum going into the game, with a two-game Big West Conference winning streak and having won six of its last seven games since meeting Pacific at home a month earlier.
With that in mind, CSUN jumped on top early and seemed to be in good shape.
Behind Davin White’s 17 points, CSUN jumped out to a quick start by not letting Pacific (23-2, 16-0) get on the board in the first three minutes. The Matadors built a 16-9 lead by the middle of the first half before holding on for a 35-34 lead at the half.
That was the last time CSUN would be in control of the game. Pacific opened the second half with a 7-0 run, extended their lead to10 points and never looked back.
White, who had trouble hitting wide-open shots against Pacific in the teams’ prior meeting on Jan. 27, stayed poised, hitting four 3-pointers in 39 minutes of play. It was his 11-points in the first half that allowed CSUN to stay on target. White’s back-to-back 3-pointers with 25 seconds to play in the first half gave the Matadors its one-point halftime lead.
The 6-foot-1, 185 pound senior had four assists, four steals and three rebounds, but only one other teammate scored in double digits. Joseph Frazier had 12 points, two rebounds and made both of his free-throws in 22 minutes off the bench.
CSUN had trouble defending the long-distance shots, allowing Pacific to hit seven 3-pointers, including four by Johnny Gray off the bench.
The Matadors, which close out the regular season this week on the road, had a poor performance from standout Ian Boylan.
The 6-foot-6, 215-pound senior scored a season-low four points on just one of eight shooting. The lackluster performance snapped a personal eight-game streak in which he scored double digits.
Jonathan Heard and Eto Onyenegecha each scored nine points for CSUN, which heads to the Big West Conference Tournament in Anaheim next week. Heard scored most of his points from the line, hitting five of six. Onyenegecha had four rebounds in 22 minutes.
CSUN showed signs of revival midway through the second half, closing to 61-55 with 3:16 to play. However, Pacific answered by capitalizing on missed shots by the Matadors, and Tyler Newton’s two wide-open dunks put the game out of reach.
Newton had 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists for Pacific on 24 minutes off the bench. Christian Maraker also scored 15 points and Johnny Gray had 14 as Pacific placed four players in double digits.
The Matadors were out-rebounded 35-28 as Pacific came down with 26 defensive rebounds.
Adam Davis contributed to this story.