The margin of defeat was nearly identical, but the difference between Cal State Northridge's first and second Division I games was like night and day.
This time the Matadors actually had a chance to win, but the experience of Colorado State guards Lynn Tryon and Mark Meredith proved superior in Northridge's 104-79 loss to the Rams on Saturday night before 6,472 at Moby Arena.
Tryon scored a career-high 30 points, including four three-point baskets; Meredith hit for 22 and also made four three-point baskets.
Despite the strong play of the Colorado State guards, Northridge was in the game well into the second half. After four missed foul shots by CSUN's Todd Bowser, the Matadors were still able to cut the lead to four at 64-60 on Kirk Scott's three-point basket with 11:58 to play.
In a 43-second span, Meredith answered with a three-point basket, a steal and layup on the ensuing possession and two free throws to make the score 71-60--the smallest deficit the rest of the way.
"We were right there knocking," Northridge Coach Pete Cassidy said. "We missed some free throws, made some turnovers, Tryon and Meredith hit those threes and the game just slipped away.
"It was a big step last night to tonight, though. We made a lot of growth in one game. We didn't self-destruct as many times as we did Friday night and we stayed within ourselves."
Although it was the highest point total for Colorado State (1-0) since the 1971-72 season, the pace wasn't nearly fast enough for Northridge's taste and nowhere near the frenzy of CSUN's 113-89 loss to Colorado a night earlier, in which six Matador school records were set, including most steals in a game (16).
The Matadors were not able to push the ball up as easily and their designated three-point shooters didn't beat the defense down court. Consequently, they managed only 25 three-point attempts compared to the school-record 44 against Colorado.
"They got back well on defense and filled the passing lanes," Cassidy said. "We're not going to be able to run every game. You can't live on the break alone."
David Keeter, who made four of six three-point shots, was the only CSUN player able to make more than one three-point basket. Keeter scored a team-high 15 points.
"They were picking us up at the three-point line from the first play," Keeter said. "To get open we had to have good picks and cuts. They scouted us well."
Northridge stayed even with the Rams through the first eight minutes, but after Scott's follow shot put CSUN ahead, 21-19, the Matadors went scoreless for four minutes. Meanwhile, Tryon scored nine of Colorado State's next 11 points to take a 30-21 lead en route to a 47-38 halftime advantage.
Keeter opened the second half with a three-point basket and a three-point play to cut the lead to five, but again the Rams quickly increased the margin back to 10.
CSUN hit only 38.9% of its field-goal attempts and finished with a disastrous 51.7% mark from the free-throw line, including Bowser's six-of-12 effort.