Men’s Basketball: Matadors edge Titans in overtime at Matadome

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Andrew Martinez

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Senior guard Josh Greene scored a clutch 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation, giving the Matadors a second chance in overtime against the CSU Fullerton Titans. The Matadors capitalized on the overtime and came out on top over the Titans, 92-83. Photo credit: Trevor Stamp / Senior Photographer

 

A dramatic game-tying 3-pointer by senior guard Josh Greene at the end of regulation helped the Matadors (12-13, 4-6 Big West) pull out another overtime victory with a 92-83 victory over the Cal State Fullerton Titans (7-15, 2-6 Big West) Saturday at the Matadome.

A career-best game from junior guard Stephan Hicks and near double-double by forward Stephen Maxwell helped the Matadors survive in their second straight overtime game.

CSUN was able to survive a 3-point barrage from Titan guards junior Alex Harris and senior Michael Williams, who knocked down 10 of CSUF’s 12 3-pointers. Hicks’ career-high 27 points and 13 rebounds along with four steals and three assists would keep CSUN within reach throughout the game as they finally caught up to the Titans in the closing minutes of the second half.

“Tonight I felt like my team needed me so I tried to attack the basket and play my game,” Hicks said, although he said he would rather look to get his teammates involved.

Despite edging the Titans in rebounds, blocks, and steals the Matadors found themselves trailing for most of the game before rallying in the closing minutes of the second half.

The first 20 minutes saw a close game as the teams exchanged baskets throughout the half. Harris and Williams sank tough 3-pointers to tie the Matadors at 13-13 with 13:37 after an alley-oop from sophomore forward Tre-Hale Edmerson to Maxwell had put CSUN up by three.

Harris and Williams would trouble the Matadors’ defense as Harris hit an open 3-pointer and Williams scored seven straight points on a tough layup and contested jumper to lead 29-22 with 4:46 left in the half.  Junior guard Josh Gentry would knock down another 3-pointer to push the Titan lead with 32-25, but Hicks rallied the Matadors with consecutive five points to close the half for CSUN down by two, 32-30.

The Titans jumped out to a ten point lead four minutes into the second half, leading 42-32 as junior forward Steve McClellan picked up the scoring for the Titans with six of his 18 points.  The Matador bench provided some scoring to close the gap, but Cal State Fullerton would lead by ten as late as nine minutes left in the game.

A full-court press led to a Titan turnover and a Hale-Edmerson block led to a layup by sophomore guard Landon Drew.  A Hicks steal led to a layup by Greene.  Greene would find Maxwell down low for an emphatic one-handed dunk that brought the Matadors within four at 60-56 with 3:12 left.

“When we needed stops in the second half, we got them,” said head coach Reggie Theus after the game. “You have to be able to have lockdown quarters. And our guys have found an ability when the game is on the line to lock up defensively.”

With new life, the Matadors would keep the game tight into the closing seconds.  Titan sophomore guard Jared Brandon would slip past the CSUN defense for a layup to put his team up 66-63.  After an exchange of free throws, the Titans led 68-65 with seven seconds left. Drew caught the inbounds pass, looked for Greene and gave it up as Greene knocked down a deep desperation 3-pointer with four seconds left to tie the game at 68-68 and send the game into overtime.

“Josh is the best catch and shoot guy,” Theus said.  “He got a good pick, came up and hit a tough three.”

Greene said his poor shooting game didn’t affect his confidence going into the final possession.

“It’s my senior year, I’d rather have no regrets than not taking the final shot and being the reason why my team didn’t have a good chance to win,” said Greene, who finished with 19 points.

Greene, Hicks and Maxwell controlled the overtime period, combining for 11 points in the first four minutes to effectively put the game away as the Titans fouled CSUN four times in the final minute to unsuccessfully pull closer.

The Matadors will try and gain ground in the Big West as they host the Cal Poly Mustangs (8-14, 4-5 Big West) on Feb. 13.