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Northridge Offense Fails to Click in 86-59 Loss

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

It wasn’t so long ago that a victory didn’t seem like it was enough for Cal State Northridge.

If it didn’t come with the Matadors scoring in triple figures, then it wasn’t quite good enough.

Call it the Loyola Marymount syndrome: In a 5-game span, CSUN exceeded 100 points 4 times.

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My, how times have changed.

Against Cal State Bakersfield at Civic Arena on Thursday, the Northridge offense sputtered all night--with the exception of an 8-minute span in the second half, and by that time, it was too late. The 19th-ranked Roadrunners were already-- beep, beep-- running wild on their way to an 86-59 blowout of the Matadors.

In this one, Northridge struggled long and hard just to reach double figures.

CSUN’s 10th point didn’t come until 11:26 had passed. A jump hook by Todd Bowser made the score 22-10.

Bowser’s basket, which accounted for one-third of his point total, was the only scoring Northridge did during a span of more than 10 minutes in the first half.

Over the same period, Bakersfield registered 23.

What went wrong? It is easier to chronicle what went right for CSUN, which dropped to 1-1 in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn., 10-5 overall.

To keep it short: hardly anything.

“They took us right out of everything we wanted to do,” CSUN Coach Pete Cassidy said. “They truly dominated us in every facet.”

Facets such as . . .

Shooting percentage: Advantage Bakersfield, 55.7% to 32.8%.

Free-throw shooting: Bakersfield, 80% (16 of 20) to 44.4% (8 of 18).

Rebounding: Bakersfield, 47-36.

The only category in which Northridge had the edge was the only one in which it prefers to lose--turnovers, 17-15.

Bakersfield, the preseason favorite to win the CCAA, evened its conference record at 1-1 and improved to 12-3 overall.

Early in the week, Roadrunner Coach Pat Douglass was telling Bakersfield sportswriters that Northridge would be the team to beat for the conference championship. He altered his tune ever so slightly after watching his team turn CSUN into a Wile E. Coyote divot.

“I still think Northridge is one of the top three teams in the conference,” he said. “This just proves that if we play well, we can play with anybody.”

Northridge tried to make a game of it with a mild rally midway through the second half, shaving 10 points off what had been a 23-point margin with 16 minutes to play.

Karl Becker hit a jump shot to make it 66-53 with 9:53 remaining, but the Matadors turned the ball over 6 of their next 9 trips down the floor.

Only 4 minutes after narrowing Bakersfield’s lead to 13, CSUN again trailed by 20.

Cassidy said that the Matadors simply tried to rush things too much.

“Defense is controlled frenzy and offense is all poise,” he said. “You have to separate the two.”

Bakersfield’s play in the first half illustrated Cassidy’s point. While creating havoc on defense, the Roadrunners seemed to have no problem shifting into an offensive mode.

Roadrunner guards Wade Green and Noel Nash managed to penetrate the Matador defense--pun intended--both to score and pass off.

Green had 11 points and 11 assists. Nash had 16 points.

Bakersfield’s freshman center, Von Bennett, scored a game-high 18 points and 14 rebounds.

Bowser, CSUN’s center, had 6 points and 7 rebounds. Derrick Gathers had 17 points to lead the Matadors and Darren Matsubara added 13.


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