Youth leads, as CSUN cruises to 72-52 victory

Senior+Olalekan+Ajayi+puts+down+the+two+handed+dunk+to+get+2+of+his+17+points+along+with+10+rebounds+to+help+the+Matadors+win+their+home+opener+game+vs+Vanhuard+by+a+score+of+52-71+on+Wednesday%2C+Nov.+18%2C+2015.+%28Silvia+Aguilar+%2F+Contributor%29
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Youth leads, as CSUN cruises to 72-52 victory

Senior Olalekan Ajayi puts down the two handed dunk to get 2 of his 17 points along with 10 rebounds to help the Matadors win their home opener game vs Vanhuard by a score of 52-71 on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. (Silvia Aguilar / Contributor)

Senior Olalekan Ajayi puts down the two handed dunk to get 2 of his 17 points along with 10 rebounds to help the Matadors win their home opener game vs Vanhuard by a score of 52-71 on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. (Silvia Aguilar / Contributor)

Senior Olalekan Ajayi puts down the two handed dunk to get 2 of his 17 points along with 10 rebounds to help the Matadors win their home opener game vs Vanhuard by a score of 52-71 on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. (Silvia Aguilar / Contributor)

Senior Olalekan Ajayi puts down the two handed dunk to get 2 of his 17 points along with 10 rebounds to help the Matadors win their home opener game vs Vanhuard by a score of 52-71 on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. (Silvia Aguilar / Contributor)

Julius Lasin

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Behind 17 points from sophomore guard Micheal Warren, the CSUN men’s basketball team beat the Vanguard Lions 72-52.

From the tip, it was apparent that the Matadors were the superior team, as they jumped out to a 9-0 lead by the 18:05 mark.

“They were small, so we just tried to get it inside,” said Warren. “We knew we could get physical on [defense] and get off to a strong start.”

As the half wore on, CSUN only increased the pressure and speed of the game, as they stretched the lead to double figures less than nine minutes into the half, when senior center Olalekan Ayaji made a layup to put the Matadors up 20-10.

“When you move the ball you can play fast,” said CSUN men’s basketball head coach Reggie Theus. “When you rebound and move the ball you can get out there”

The home team would eventually increase the lead to 17 when freshman guard Jason Richardson made a layup to score his ninth point of the first half.

In addition to Richardson, Warren was instrumental to the Matadors’ success, scoring 10 points and pulling down five rebounds, while shooting 66.7 percent from the field and 3-point line in the first half.

“I actually like playing uptempo, playing up and down,” said Warren crediting Theus’ system for his early season success. “It fits me.”

But not to be outdone by the young players, Ayaji chipped in eight points and five rebounds at the half, thanks to playmaking from fellow senior Tre Hale-Edmerson.

“I thought that Lekan did a great job,” said Theus. “But at the same time, Tre Edmerson found him around the basket several times, and give [him] the ball where he could really do something.”

As a result of the the young players’ strong showing, CSUN went into the halftime break with a comfortable 39-26 lead.

After three slow second halves at the Northern Illinois Showcase last weekend, the Matadors remedied that problem by jumping out to 20-point lead less than seven minutes into the second half against Vanguard.

From that point, the Lions never posed much of a threat, as they never got within 15 points of CSUN for the rest of the game.

A large part of CSUN’s success against the Lions was their ability to not only do a better job of taking care of the ball, but also the creativity to create for each other. The Matadors finished with 21 assists and 13 turnovers, including a combined seven assists and three turnovers from Warren and Richardson.

“The 21 assists is strong,” said Theus. “I don’t know how many times since I’ve been here we’ve had 21 assists.”

Despite a 20-point victory, the Matadors still demonstrated depth-related issues, as only seven player saw more than four minutes.

“The opportunity is there, the hard part is we have seven guys,” said Theus. “The good part for them is that they’re going to get to play a lot of minutes.”

Theus understands that once again the lack of options can put a strain on his team moving forward.

“The only thing that we’re going to have a problem with, is when we’re tired and going to have to play defense,” he said.

However, the Matadors did not need many players or much rest to dispose of Lions.

CSUN will get back on the road to face the University of Southern California Trojans on Monday, Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. in the Galen Center.