It is very simple. When the Cal State Northridge men’s basketball team’s offense is connecting on all cylinders, the team wins. When it is not, like it was in the 91-70 loss at Tulsa on Nov. 25 and the 66-44 loss to Illinois St. on Nov. 20, the team loses.
With the losses, CSUN’s record drops to 4-3. The Golden Hurricanes improved their record to 3-1 on the season while the Redbirds improved to a .500 record at 2-2.
Against Tulsa, junior Calvin Chitwood led the Matadors with 11 points on 4-8 from the field in 22 minutes. The only other player in double figures for CSUN was junior Jayme Miller, who chipped in with 10 points on a perfect 3-3 from the field.
The Matador defense seemed to struggle, letting Tulsa shoot 57 percent from the floor, including 60 percent in the first half. CSUN also struggled with fouling again, sending the Golden Hurricanes to the line 38 times where they made 32 free throws, 84 percent from the line.
Five Golden Hurricane players scored in double figures. Rod Earl led Tulsa with 26 points on 5-9 shooting and a perfect 13-13 from the free-throw line. Ben Uzoh chipped in with 19 points and Charles Ramsdell helped with 15. The game marked the first time this season that the CSUN bench was outscored by an opponent’s bench. The Golden Hurricanes outscored the Matador bench 31-29.
The Matador offense seemed OK in the first half, where CSUN shot 48 percent from the field, made half of its threes and hit seven out of 10 free throws. At the half, the Matadors were only down by six at 46-40.
In the second half, however, the Matadors shot a miserable 35 percent from the field, 21 percent from behind the arc and 64 percent from the charity stripe as they were outscored 45-30 to hand them their second loss in a row.
CSUN managed to stay close throughout the early part of the second half but fell behind with five minutes remaining in the game. With Tulsa holding the lead at 66-60, the Golden Hurricanes put up nine unanswered points to put the Matadors back by 15, allowing Tulsa to run away with the win.
For the game, CSUN shot 41 percent from the field, 33 percent from beyond the arc and 66 percent from the line. The Matadors were out-rebounded 36-25 and committed 11 more fouls than Tulsa. CSUN, however, committed a season-low 16 turnovers while forcing 20 and had 16 assists on 23 shots made.
The loss to Tulsa follows CSUN’s worst outing of the season, in which they were held to a season-low 44 points against the Illinois State Redbirds on Nov. 20.
Chitwood and Miller combined to score 24 out of CSUN’s 44 points against the Redbirds.
The Matadors were held to a dismal 16 points in the first half to Illinois’ 36. CSUN managed a better effort in the second half, being outscored by only two points. The Matadors managed 28 points of their own.
CSUN struggled from the field, shooting a field goal percentage of 25.9 percent in the game and only 14.3 percent from three-point range.
It was a defensive struggle between the two teams as the Redbirds forced 23 turnovers while the Matadors forced 18 of their own. Illinois recorded 12 steals, led by Anthony Slack, who recorded five. The Matadors had nine steals in the game.
CSUN returns home to open a three-game homestand beginning Dec. 3 against Eastern Washington. The tip will be at 4:05 p.m. at the Matadome.