For the CSUN men’s basketball team, the free throw line continued to be anything but charitable as they lost to the UC Irvine Anteaters 75-66 at the Bren Center in Irvine on Feb. 3. This marks the fourth straight loss for the Matadors after also losing to Long Beach State 79-72 at Walter Pyramid in Long Beach on Feb. 1. CSUN drops to 10-12 overall and 3-6 in Big West Conference play.
Free throws continued to be a problem for CSUN, making only 17 of 28 for 60.7 percent against UC Irvine. The Anteaters did a better job of getting to the free throw line, taking 45 shots and making 32 for 71.1 percent.
The Matadors shot 40 percent for the game, making 22 of 55 shots from the floor and shooting 31.3 percent (5-16) from three-point range. The bench scored 40 points, while Irvine’s bench scored 14. The Matadors also had ten steals to Irvine’s four.
The Anteaters shot 55.6 percent for the game, making 20 of 36 shots, with three-point shooting at 27.3 percent (3-11). Irvine out-rebounded the Matadors, 34 to 28, and blocked seven shots to the Matadors’ one.
For CSUN, sophomore guard Tre Peters and junior forward Jonathan Heard each had 13 points and each had three steals. Peters, who set a career-high with his 13 points also had two assists for the night. Junior forward Calvin Chitwood had 12 points and senior center Thomas Shewmake scored 10 points. Junior forward Jayme Miller, sophomore guard Jason Hill and senior guard Terrell Jones each had five rebounds.
For Irvine, junior forward Patrick Sanders led all players with 23 points, four rebounds and three blocked shots. Junior guard Chuma Awaji followed with 19 points and four rebounds, while Junior center Darren Fells added 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Senior forward Nic Campbell scored 11 points and pulled down four rebounds.
The Anteaters started to pull away in the first half after a three-pointer by Sanders, followed by a basket by Campbell, put Irvine ahead 15-8. Strong defense by Irvine resulted in Fells blocking Heard and then forcing a shot clock violation. The Matadors came back and Chitwood’s jumper put them within two at 19-17.
Heard intercepted a pass and took it down the court for a lay-up that put the Matadors within one point at 22-21. Heard had the opportunity to tie the game, but missed the free throw. Peters put CSUN ahead on his lay-up 23-22, but Campbell came right back with a turnaround jumper that regained the lead for the Anteaters, 24-23. Hill tied the score at 24 after sinking one of two free throws, but Irvine went ahead again 26-24 after Awaji made two free throws. Sophomore guard Rob Haynes hit a much-needed three-pointer to put CSUN ahead 27-26. Campbell was fouled and made one of two free throws to tie the score. Peters put CSUN up 29-27 at the half when he drove into the paint and banked in a shot.
Irvine went ahead early in the second half, with two free throws and a long three-pointer by Awaji. The Anteaters defense again threatened a CSUN shot clock violation, but Heard made a three-pointer just before the buzzer to bring it within one point at 40-39. Sanders made a hook shot that put the Anteaters ahead 42-39, but a basket by Chitwood, followed by a Peters’ three-pointer tied the game 44-44.
The score was tied and the lead changed several times before the Anteaters started to pull away after Campbell hit two in a row to put Irvine up 56-53. Haynes and Peters each made one of two free throws to bring CSUN within one point at 56-55, but the Anteaters again pulled away. Fells turned a spinning jump shot into a three-point play and freshman guard Michael Hunter sank a three-pointer to give Irvine a 62-55 lead. A steal by Peters and a lay-up brought the score to 62-57.
A battle at the free throw line followed, but the Matadors were unable to capitalize. Peters was fouled on a drive to the basket, but missed both of his free throws. Shewmake made one of two free throws to bring the score to 62-58. Sanders made one of two free throws for Irvine to lengthen the lead, 63-58. Shewmake was fouled and made both of his free throws to bring the Matadors within three at 63-60. Shewmake fouled out and the Anteaters made six of seven more free throws to bring the score to 69-60.
Chitwood and Peters both hit three-pointers in the final minute, but the Anteaters made six of six more free throws and CSUN ran out of time, losing with a final score of 75-66.
Free throws were also a problem for the Matadors on February 1 in their game against Long Beach State. CSUN shot only 50% from the free throw line while Long Beach shot 71.1 percent. Long Beach made it to the free throw line 38 times while the Matadors only shot 12 free throws.
The Matadors out shot the 49ers from the floor, shooting 41.4% (29-70) of their shots compared to the 49ers’ 36.2 percent (21-58). Long Beach shot better from three-point range, however, making 10 of 29 for 34.5 percent, compared to CSUN’s 8 for 25 for 32 percent.
For CSUN, Terrell Jones scored 16 points and six rebounds. Jayme Miller had 12 points, six rebounds and two blocks. Calvin Chitwood had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Senior forward Sterling Byrd led Long Beach with 23 points and five rebounds, followed by senior guard Aaron Nixon with 16 points and four rebounds. Senior guard Kevin Houston added 15 points, seven rebounds and five steals. Senior forward Dominque Ricks scored a double double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Although the first half the game stayed close, the 49ers went up 41-40 on a three-pointer by Byrd at the end of the half. A three-point shot by Nixon gave Long Beach a 44-40 lead early in the second half. CSUN tied the game 44-44 on a basket by Miller and two free throws by Chitwood. The two teams continued to trade baskets until Nixon made a wild shot in traffic and the Matadors sent Long Beach to the free throw line too many times. Freshman guard Tim Island was fouled on a three-point attempt and made two of his three free throws to put the 49ers up 61-54.
Miller’s lay-up brought CSUN closer at 61-56, but Byrd made two free throws to again lengthen the lead to 63-56. Peters hit a three-pointer and Jones made a free throw to close the gap at 63-60. Byrd hit two more free throws and Nixon hit a three to bring the score to 68-60. Senior guard Louis Darby hit his two free throws, putting the score at 70-60.
CSUN came within five after a three-pointer by Jones put the score at 76-71, but Long Beach was able to hold on to their lead, making their free throws in the last minute to win 79-72.