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CSUN Derailed by Biola Defense

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

Coaches have been fired for focusing on defense, but a couple of basketball teams that have been relatively successful using it met at the Cal State Northridge gym on Tuesday night.

Loyola Marymount fans need not read on.

What took place between the match-up zones ended up being an excruciatingly close basketball game.

It just wasn’t very pretty.

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Biola University, led by Kevin Hood’s 19 points, won the nonconference game, 76-71, in overtime.

Such games do not fill basketball arenas--only 175 showed up for this one--but for the Eagles it was their seventh win in a row, improving their record to 13-3.

Northridge, which has dropped consecutive close games at home, will take a 9-4 record into its California Collegiate Athletic Assn. opener on Friday at Cal State Los Angeles.

Alan Fraser, a starting forward for CSUN, may be available for the Cal State L. A. game. He missed his second game because of a sprained left ankle but said it was feeling much better. Still, that didn’t do the Matadors much good Tuesday against the taller Eagles.

“We missed him big time,” CSUN Coach Pete Cassidy said. “He definitely would have been a factor.”

As it was, Biola was successful in getting the ball inside on offense--"they threw right over us,” Cassidy said--and in pushing Northridge far outside at the other end by implementing a 1-1-3 zone.

Northridge made only 1 of 11 3-point shots in the second half. The Matadors, who were led in scoring by Karl Becker’s 17 points, shot 39.7%, their second consecutive game under 40%.

Derrick Gathers, CSUN’s leading scorer with an average of 18.6, had 16 but was 5 of 16 from the field and only 1 of 8 from behind the 3-point line.

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The problem, perhaps, was that he was too far behind the line. Several times Gathers loaded up from 4 to 6 feet beyond the 19-foot, 9-inch line. He had come in shooting 50.9%.

Northridge held a 71-70 advantage in overtime, but Biola scored the last 6 points of the game.

A pair of free throws by Hood put Biola ahead for good, 72-71, with 1:19 left.

The Eagles almost gave the game away at the line thereafter. Eric Nielsen missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 24 seconds left. Then, after Biola rebounded the second miss, Hood was fouled and blew both of his free throws.

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Todd Bowser rebounded for Northridge and was fouled in the backcourt with 22 seconds left. But he, too, missed the front end of a 1-and-1.

Given a second chance, Nielsen made 2 free throws with 13 seconds left to give the Eagles a 74-71 lead, then added a layup at the buzzer after Gathers missed again from long range.

CSUN came back from a 4-point deficit in the last 6 minutes to send the game into overtime.

Hardly a stirring rally in most games but a bona fide scoring run in this one.

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Neither team led by more than 2 points in the first 14 minutes of the second half.

Each team had a chance to win in the final minute of regulation.

Kris Brodowski came up with a big defensive play for Northridge, seemingly coming out of nowhere to block a layup attempt by Biola’s David Hardin with 50 seconds left.

Brodowski had a chance to be a hero on the offensive end as well but missed a 5-foot jump shot in heavy traffic with 5 seconds left.

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