The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Matadors stretch home winning streak to 3

Junior Calvin Chitwood scored a career-high 30 points to lead the Cal State Northridge men’s basketball team to a 102-98 win over Eastern Washington at the Matadome on Dec. 3.

Chitwood’s performance earned him Big West Player of the Week honors on Dec. 4, his first such honor. He also contributed nine rebounds and four steals. He shot 8-12 from the floor and was flawless at the free throw line, making all 12 of his shots.

“We told our guys before the game started this was a character win, this was going to be a character game for us,” head coach Bobby Braswell said. “We were going to have to do some things to show what kind of team we were, what kind of character we are going to have later on during the season.”

With that, the Matadors came out and scored more than 100 points against a team that Braswell says will probably win the Big Sky Conference this year.

CSUN made 32 of 63 shots from the floor, for a 50.8 percent shooting percentage. The Eagles shot a slightly better 54.2 percent for the game, hitting 32 of 59 shots. The Matadors were superior at the free throw line, making 30 of 35 shots for 85.7 percent. The Eagles made 28 of 38 free throws for 73.7 percent.

“You gotta have your routine down,” Chitwood said. “You just gotta do your thing and make sure you knock them down, no matter what the situation is.”

Junior Jonathan Heard came off the bench and scored 19 points. Junior Jayme Miller scored a career-high 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Sophomore Rob Haynes also had 13 points, along with three steals.

For Eastern Washington, sophomore Rodney Stuckey scored a game-high 32 points, his tenth career game scoring more than 30 points. Stuckey also had seven assists, six rebounds and four steals.

“He’s good, he’s gonna get his points. But I think the way we stepped up, it kind of took away his supporting cast,” Heard said.

Eagles’ senior Paul Butorac scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds, while junior Omar Kravem scored 10 points and had two steals.

The Matadors came out strong to start the game and quickly took an 11-0 lead on a hook shot by senior Thomas Shewmake. The Eagles scored their first basket after more than three minutes of play on a layup by junior Kellen Williams. The Matadors extended their lead to 15 points when junior Jordan Noblitt hit a three-pointer, bringing the score to 28-13.

The Eagles started to chip away at the lead, however, with Stuckley scoring 15 points in the next seven minutes, capped by a three-pointer that brought the Eagles within one point at 42-41. Senior Derek Risper tied the game at 48 with a tip-in off a missed lay-up by Stuckey. The teams traded free throws before Chitwood had a slam-dunk that put the Matadors up 51-49. A foul sent the Eagles to the free-throw line and junior Marcus Hinton tied the game at 51-51 with only 12 seconds left in the half.

In the second half the Matadors had to play without their big senior center, Thomas Shewmake after a missed dunk in the first half sent him limping off the court.

CSUN was able to build up a seven-point lead after a layup by Miller put the score at 71-64. The Eagles came within one point after a steal and lay-up by Krayem and went ahead 81-82 after a dunk by Butorac.

The Eagles led by three points at 89-92 with 3:32 left in the game. After making two free throws, Haynes stole the ball and fed Colston, who layed it up against the glass to put the Matadors ahead 93-92. The Eagles came back with a lay-up by Stuckey to go ahead 93-94. The next six points were scored by the Matadors at the free throw line to put CSUN ahead 99-94. The Eagles’ Butorac scored on a free throw and Kramer scored a three-pointer, but the Matadors hit three of four free throws to pull out the 102-98 win.

“We just knew this was going to be a defining moment for our guys and I thought our guys responded well to that,” Braswell said. “We got an early lead on them and we knew that wasn’t going to last long because they are a good team. We got some foul trouble and then Thomas Shewmake going down the way he did, our big center. So all this adversity comes up and we get the lead in the second half and they come back and take the lead. How you respond to it all is important and I think our guys responded tonight and the character that they showed tonight is critical, more than anything else, as to where we can go this season and that’s what I was looking for as a coach.”

With the win, CSUN stops a two-game losing streak and improves its record to 5-3. The Matadors remain undefeated at home this season (3-0) and will host Boise State at the Matadome on Dec. 9 at 7:05 p.m.

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