Men’s Basketball: Matadors drop second straight, fall to Bulldogs 80-64

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Sophomore center Tre Hale-Edmerson looks for an open cutter in Saturday’s loss to the Bulldogs. The Matadors have now lost two straight on the road and will travel to Central Michigan next week for a tournament. Photo credit: Alex Vejar / Daily Sundial

The CSUN Matadors (1-2) got blitzed by a 14-2 scoring run to end the first half and fell to the Fresno State Bulldogs (2-1) in blowout fashion, 80-64.

Points in the paint were a problem again for CSUN as they gave up 44 to FSU while only scoring 30. The Bulldogs shot 55.4 percent for the game to the Matadors’ 44.6 percent.

Senior guard Josh Greene scored a team-high 17 points and made 3-5 shots from beyond the arc. Senior guard Tyler Johnson led Fresno state with a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds.

After a close first few minutes of the game, CSUN found themselves down two with 8:36 to go in the first half, but gave up seven straight points — five coming from the free throw line — for a 27-18 deficit. After two free throws by freshman guard Aaron Parks pulled the Matadors within two yet again, the Bulldogs answered with a 10-0 run and ended the half with a 41-27 lead.

“I think in the first half of the game, we gave up too many fast break points. That’s why they got that lead,” junior forward Stephan Hicks said. “But other than that, I think we played pretty well.”

Greene scored five of his 15 second-half points in the first minute of the second stanza, and cut the Fresno State lead to nine.

“I’m going to keep playing hard regardless of whether we’re up 50 or down 50, it doesn’t matter,” Greene said.

But FSU exploded with a 15-4 run to increase their lead to 20. CSUN did not get closer than 15 in the half, and never led in the game.

Greene said the large first-half scoring run by the Bulldogs was a result of poor Matador shot selection and transition defense.

“They just played harder than us in spurts,” said Greene, who was visibly disappointed after the game. “We’re a way better team than that, so the harder team won tonight.”

CSUN was outrebounded by FSU 36-24, a disparity Greene thought was every player’s responsibility.

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Senior guard Josh Greene led the Matadors in scoring with 17 points on 5-10 shooting. Photo credit: Alex Vejar / Daily Sundial

“We just have to be more sound fundamentally, which is boxing out,” Greene said. “It’s not just Maxwell and Tre-Edmerson and the bigs’ responsibility to rebound. It’s everybody. We can’t pinpoint it on one person.”

Head coach Reggie Theus thought the game was a perfect storm of poor overall play.

“If you’re not going to rebound, if you’re not going to get to the line, and you’re shooting poorly, that’s a bad combination of things,” Theus said.

CSUN scored only seven fast break points to FSU’s 19. Theus felt his team played out of character.

“We have to learn who we are,” Theus said. “They gotta understand that we’re not a jump-shooting team. We gotta take the ball to the hole.”

Theus also said the team has lost the last two games because of a lack of physical toughness.

“We don’t do the tough things,” Theus said. “Our problem is 50-50 balls. We have to get tougher and that’s a huge problem for us right now.”

Even though the Matadors are on a two-game losing streak, Theus feels the team can learn from the losses.

“I hope that these two games give us what we need to understand what we have to do to win,” Theus said.

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Men’s Basketball: Matadors overpowered by Trojans, fall 95-79

After only being down four in the second half, the CSUN Matadors (1-1) were hit with a 16-3 scoring run and suffered a blowout loss to the USC Trojans (1-1) Tuesday, 95-79.

The Matador offense was ice cold, only shooting 33.3 percent for the game. The Trojans shot an efficient 57.1 percent and outscored CSUN in points in the paint, 50-26.

Junior forward Stephen Maxwell recorded his second straight double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Senior guard Josh Greene led CSUN in scoring with 19, but only shot 4-15 from the field. Junior guard Byron Wesley had 16 points and 11 rebounds for USC.

The first half was a back-and-forth game of runs. CSUN got off to a quick start, scoring the first five points of the game. But USC answered back with a 12-4 run capped off by a two-hand dunk from freshman guard Julian Jacobs off of a lob pass from Wesley.

After junior guard/forward Stephan Hicks put in a jumper to cut the Trojan lead to five, USC went on a 10-4 run which consisted of either layups or free throws. The Matadors trailed at the half, 42-31.

CSUN had trouble with seven-foot-two senior center Omar Oraby all night. He scored 17 points, blocked two shots and only missed once from the field. His seven made baskets all seemed to come from inside the paint.

“He’s 7’2”, so he’s going to get a couple baskets like that,” Greene said of Oraby. “But it was a collective effort. We should have blocked him out a little bit more [and] made it tougher for him.”

The Matadors went to a zone defense to start the second half, which allowed them to stay within striking distance of the Trojans. But USC kept making shots and connected on 50 percent of their threes in the half.

Head coach Reggie Theus was disappointed with his team’s reliance on the three-point shot after making only five of 22.

“The one thing I am not happy with — we’re not a team that shoots 22 threes,” Theus said. “That’s not something that we do. I think that that’s too many threes.”

Drew agreed with Theus about the team’s overuse of the long ball.

“I don’t think that’s our game,” Drew said. “We really should’ve been attacking a whole lot more.”

Greene felt the Matadors were forced out of their high-speed running game due to USC’s effective shooting.

“In order for us to run, we gotta rebound the ball,” Greene said. “We gotta get defensive stops and if we’re always taking the ball out of the basket, then that stops our momentum. When we actually got defensive stops, we were able to push the ball and got good things.”

While this is the first loss of the season for CSUN, Drew felt the team’s effort was a positive takeaway.

“All in all, I felt like we really fought for the most part and I’m proud of how we played,” Drew said. “We didn’t back down.”

 The Matadors travel to Fresno State for a road game against the Bulldogs on Saturday, Nov. 16.

Men’s Basketball: Matadors survive late rally, drop HIU 86-74 in season opener

The Matadors (1-0) survived a three-point onslaught late in their season opener and pulled out a win against the Hope International Royals (0-1) Friday, 86-74.

CSUN led by as much as 19 in the second half, but the Royals fought back with nine straight points to cut the lead to 10. Junior guard Matt Green trimmed CSUN’s lead to only six on two deep three-pointers with 6:32 left in the game.

After six straight free throws helped increase the Matador lead to nine, Green answered back with another three — this time off the backboard — which forced a CSUN timeout with the score 71-65.

However, CSUN withstood the sudden flurry of points by the Royals with some more trips to the foul line and a three-pointer by sophomore guard Landon Drew, which put the Matadors up by 12 and sealed the victory.

The Royals shot 60.9 percent in the second half after being held to an anemic 37.9 percent in the first.

“A lot of it came from our defensive breakdowns,” senior guard Josh Greene said of Hope International’s hot-shooting second half. “We didn’t communicate on certain plays. A lot of it was just on us, just mental breakdowns.”

CSUN did most of their damage in the first half. After a start to the game which saw both teams not able to pull away from the other, Sophomore center Tre Hale-Edmerson drove through the lane, spun away from a defender and dunked the ball with two hands, giving the Matadors a 30-25 lead.

Hale-Edmerson’s thunderous throwdown ignited a 12-0 run by the Matadors, ballooning their lead to 15. Even with the second-half rally, the Royals never recovered.

“I thought their offensive execution was solid in the half court, but in the first half, I thought they really pushed the ball well,” head coach Reggie Theus said of his team. “That’s why we had such a big lead.”

Also contributing to CSUN’s win was the school record 32 made free throws. They shot 97 percentfrom the charity stripe, attempting 33. Hope International made 14 of 18 free throws.

“We just kept attacking,” junior forward Steven Maxwell said. “We play inside-out, we’re a hit-first team and just drive the ball every time because we knew they couldn’t guard us. So we were getting to the paint every time and drawing fouls.”

Maxwell made and attempted a game-high 11 free throws and Greene made all eight of his foul shots. Stephan Hicks was the only Matador who missed at the line, going three of four.

“The guy that missed has to run tomorrow,” Theus said jokingly.

CSUN’s defense forced 17 turnovers and committed only eight.

Maxwell led the Matadors with a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds on six-of-13 shooting and repeatedly found himself under the basket throughout the game.

“That’s who he is,” Theus said of Maxwell. “When I saw that he had an advantage, I just went back to him over and over, and he was delivering.”

Hicks contributed 20 points and 9 rebounds. Green led Hope International with 21 points and made five-of-six from the beyond the arc.

CSUN’s next match-up is a road game against the USC Trojans on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m.