For the second time in just four days, senior center Thomas Shewmake set a new career high in points, scoring 25 to lead the CSUN men’s basketball team to an important 91-74 non-conference win over the UC Davis Aggies on Feb. 14 at the Matadome.
Shewmake also pulled down 10 rebounds for his second consecutive double double. He made 10 of 16 shots, including two from the three-point range. Shewmake said that instead of talking about what needs to be done on the court, he is trying to lead by example.
“I’m just trying to make a statement, trying to finish up and get ready for the tournament,” Shewmake said.
Junior forward Jonathan Heard scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Heard made nine of 11 free throws and six of 11 from the floor, including three slam dunks that excited the crowd of 721.
“It’s always good when you get a team win and that just put the icing on the cake,” Heard said.
Other Matadors in double figures included sophomore guard Rob Haynes with 11 points and junior forward Jayme Miller with 10. Senior guard Terrell Jones also contributed eight points and five rebounds.
The Matadors shot 48.6 percent from the floor, making 34 of 70 shots. Free throw shooting was good at 83.3 percent, but the team is still struggling from three-point range, making only three of 15 shots for 20 percent.
“I just thought it was important for us tonight to really attack the paint as much as we could and establish the inside game,” said head coach Bobby Braswell. “We didn’t shoot it great from the threes tonight, didn’t shoot it well at all, but we outscored them in the paint 44-22 and that was the difference,” Braswell said.
The Matadors also had 16 steals in the game with junior guard Rai Colston leading the team with four. CSUN grabbed 42 rebounds, while the Aggies had 34 and the CSUN bench outscored the UC Davis bench 37-27.
For UC Davis, sophomore guard Vince Oliver led all scorers with 28 points and five rebounds. Freshman forward C.J. Portz followed with 14 points and nine rebounds, and Dominic Calegari had 10 points and four rebounds.
The Aggies shot just 39.3 percent from the floor, making 24 of 61 shots, including eight of 16 from three point range. UC Davis shot 75 percent from the free throw line, making 18 of 24 shots.
Braswell said he had challenged Shewmake to play with the same focus and intensity that he played with against Fullerton on Feb. 10 when he set his previous career high of 24 points. Braswell said he also threatened to have his wife come and heckle Shewmake before the game.
Fueled by either the challenge or the threat, Shewmake showed intensity right from the star. In the first four minutes he scored seven points, grabbed two rebounds and blocked one shot to help put the Matadors ahead 11-6.
UC Davis tied the game at 11 with two free throws made by Portz, but the Matadors made a run and led 25-17 after a jump shot by senior forward Keith Everage.
The Aggies cut the lead to three after two free throws by Calegari put the score at 25-22.
CSUN came back and led by 15 after Heard scored six consecutive points, capped by a layup by Shewmake to put the score at 40-25.
The Aggies again cut into the lead as Oliver scored seven points in the next two minutes to end the half with CSUN in the lead 46-34.
In the second half, UC Davis came within nine points after Oliver hit a three-pointer that put the score at 50-41. The Matadors did not allow the Aggies to get any closer and went on a 20-9 run that gave the Matadors the lead at 70-50. UC Davis went on a run of their own, led by Portz and Oliver, who got the score at 74-60, but CSUN went ahead by 23 points after a couple of free throws by Jones put the score at 85-62. The Aggies got a couple of three-pointers by Calegari and Oliver to cut the lead, but the Matadors closed out the game in style with a dunk by Jones and a final score of 91-74.
The Matadors’ record is 12-13 overall and 4-7 in Big West play. CSUN played a non-conference game on Feb.17 against Cleveland State at 7:05 p.m. at the Matadome.