On “Senior Night,” the men’s basketball team ended their final home game with pride when they blew out the UC Davis Aggies, 99-72, in the biggest win of the season.
Coming off a loss to Pacific on Feb. 26, the Matadors started slowly during the first two minutes and found themselves behind 2-0. But they quickly took the lead and held onto it for the rest of the game.
Guard Ian Boylan led CSUN in scoring with 22 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot.
The Matadors second leading scorer, Calvin Chitwood, had 15 points. He also had three rebounds and one steal.
Etoagwara Onyenegecha contributed 14 points, three rebounds and one steal.
The Matadors took a 10-3 lead within the first four to five minutes of the game and UC Davis never caught up. The men played intense defense throughout the whole game, forcing the Aggies into 19 turnovers. In addition, every player that played scored.
By the end of the first half, which ended with a nice layup by center Austin Waggener, the score was 47-33.
The Aggies had short scoring runs and were struggling from the field throughout the game. They shot 24 for 56, including 34 percent from behind the arc.
“Forfeit! Forfeit!” the crowd of about 1,500 screamed against the Aggies as they fell behind by as much as 36 points during the second half.
The Matadors, however, were 35 for 52, including 75 percent from three-point range.
Coach Bobbie Braswell said defense won the game.
“I thought we had a good defensive game, and when we play good defense, it leads to easy offense for us,” Braswell said. “I thought we had some mental breakdowns early, (and) I think that when we got that big lead early, we got kind of flaky with the ball and got casual.”
For the most part, the Matadors kept a good pace of scoring throughout the game. They even held on to about a 20-point lead that fluctuated for a couple minutes.
The Matadors led by 34 points with about two minutes left, after forward Sal Vance delivered a monster dunk, causing the crowd to go wild.
The Aggies began to come back at the end of the game, but they couldn’t dig themselves out of their huge deficit.
Braswell said he felt their opponents were never able “to get into a groove” because of the defensive pressure they put on the Aggies.
“We played this team before,” said guard Davin White. “We knew our pressure defense would get to them, so we just came out and played our (defense).”
The Matadors also out-hustled the Aggies on the boards 36-21.
Braswell and guard Joseph Frazier believed they scored so many points because it was the final home game for the seniors.
“I definitely think our seniors had a lot to play for tonight, this being their last home game,” Braswell said. “But I think our young guys wanted to send the seniors out in a positive way too, and they really played hard for our seniors here.”
Frazier expressed a similar opinion.
“We took it at them,” Frazier said. “We didn’t let back. We always came straight at them.”
Braswell said he felt it was a special night for the seniors Boylan, Frazier, Onyenegecha and White.
“You know it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing to be a senior (on the team),” Braswell said.
“Some of these guys have been here four years, played a lot of basketball games here, with a lot of wins, a lot of losses, a lot of trauma, a lot of drama, but they’ve survived it. I’m just happy we were able to send them off in a positive way.”
The Aggies left right after the game. They fell to 10-17.
The Matadors play their last two games of the regular season on the road against UC Riverside tonight and Cal State Fullerton Saturday.
“It’s important for us to go on the road and really play well,” Braswell said.