Matadors drop season opener to Northern Illinois, 83-71

The+Matadors+lose+their+season+opener+to+the+Northern+Illinois+Huskies+83-71%2C+after+utilizing+only+seven+players.+Photo+credit%3A+Juan+Pardo
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Matadors drop season opener to Northern Illinois, 83-71

The Matadors lose their season opener to the Northern Illinois Huskies 83-71, after utilizing only seven players. Photo credit: Juan Pardo

The Matadors lose their season opener to the Northern Illinois Huskies 83-71, after utilizing only seven players. Photo credit: Juan Pardo

The Matadors lose their season opener to the Northern Illinois Huskies 83-71, after utilizing only seven players. Photo credit: Juan Pardo

The Matadors lose their season opener to the Northern Illinois Huskies 83-71, after utilizing only seven players. Photo credit: Juan Pardo

Julius Lasin

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Despite strong showings from freshmen Tavrion Dawson and Jason Richardson, the CSUN men’s basketball fell to the Northern Illinois University Huskies 83-71 in the season opener for both teams.

The Matadors were hampered by a shortened bench, due to the unavailability of guards Aaron Parks and Jerron Wilbut.

In spite of Parks’ and Wilbut’s absence, the Matadors kept the game close for most of the game, as they jumped out to a 14-8 lead after a 3-pointer by freshman guard Micheal Warren at the 12:36 mark in the first half.

Shortly after Warren’s 3-pointer, the Huskies would go on a 9-2 run to capture the lead. From that point on, Northern Illinois would not relinquish the advantage for the rest of the game.

Northern Illinois’ ability to sustain the lead was due in large part to their bench production, as their reserves scored 32 points in the first half alone.

In comparison, the Matadors, who didn’t have much of a bench to rely on—they played seven players in total—only got 14 total points from their bench.

Furthermore, the Matadors struggled defending the perimeter, allowing Northern Illinois to shoot 8-14 from the 3-point line.

Although the Matadors did shoot 50 percent form the field and 3-point line in the first half, their lack of bench presence and defense were too much to overcome, as they went into the half trailing 40-46.

Coming out of the locker room, CSUN were immediately back on their heels, as the Huskies increased their lead to 13 by the 16:38 mark of the second half.

However, the young team responded by pulling within one point at 62-63 after a layup from Dawson at the 8:20 mark. They were able to nearly pull even thanks to timely baskets from Dawson and Richardson.

That was the closest the Matadors would get to the Huskies for the rest of the game though. Northern Illinois responded to Dawson’s layup with five unanswered points, alleviating some pressure brought on by CSUN.

For the final 7:48, things would unravel for the Matadors as they mustered only nine points in that span, allowing the Huskies to pull away for an easy victory.

The Matadors will look return to the Convocation Center on Saturday, Nov. 14 to face Wright State University at 4 p.m.