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CSUN Basketball Team Might Feel Effects of USIU’s Fiscal Woes

U. S. International University in San Diego filed for bankruptcy Dec. 21 and Cal State Northridge could lose the chance to play two of its basketball games this season if USIU drops its program.

The fate of basketball and the school’s other athletic programs will be decided Friday by the school’s board of trustees. The Gulls’ last game could be against Baylor on Saturday.

It is doubtful that CSUN, which is scheduled to play USIU on Jan. 28 at Matador Gymnasium and Feb. 14 in San Diego, could find another team to play on those dates. “The only way is if someone on (USIU’s) schedule without two dates matches dates with us,” CSUN assistant Tom McCollum said.

“In January, February and March we pick up games with conference schools that have a bye, and that won’t happen on a night we play each other. It would require some logistics gymnastics, but it might be worth a try.”

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USIU has six games scheduled on dates that CSUN does not play and is in town. All but one of those games is in the Southern California area--the exception being a game Feb. 18 at Missouri-Kansas City, which, like CSUN and USIU, is a Division I Independent.

The most intriguing opponent aside from Missouri-Kansas City, which plays at USIU on March 4--an open date for CSUN--is Western Athletic Conference member San Diego State, which is scheduled to play USIU on March 27 at the Sports Arena in San Diego.

Woman for all seasons: After an All-Western State Conference volleyball campaign, Ventura freshman Vanessa Hackett has easily made the move to the larger boundaries of the basketball court.

Hackett, a 5-foot-9 forward-center from Hueneme High, leads the basketball team in scoring after four games. “I didn’t think she would contribute as much as she has as quickly as she did,” Coach Ned Mircetic said. “She helps our inside game quite a bit.”

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Hackett is averaging more than 16 points and 12 rebounds a game for the Pirates (8-5).

No place like home: With a 2-0 record at Matador Gymnasium and an 0-6 record on the road it is no surprise that CSUN’s basketball players know the differences.

“The shots are going to go down playing here every day in practice,” swingman David Swanson said, “plus, having your own fans yelling for you, the volleyball players and baseball players. It gives us a tremendous boost.

“At home you look up at a wall behind the basket, but on the road you look up at hundreds of fans screaming at you. And that is not counting the calls. On the road they go against you. At home, you get a break.”

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Hindsight is 20-20: When 6-8 freshman Peter Micelli came to Cassidy’s office last month and told Cassidy that he was reconsidering his decision to redshirt, it seemed like a wise and unselfish move.

At the time, two of the team’s other big men weren’t playing. Percy Fisher, a 6-7 sophomore, was academically ineligible and 6-7 junior college transfer Brian Kilian was suffering from a back injury that forced him to miss parts of practice for three weeks.

Although Fisher has been declared ineligible for the rest of the season, Kilian is returning to health and he is playing regularly in a reserve role.

Consequently, Micelli, a Beverly Hills High product, has been limited to 4.3 minutes a game. He did not play in CSUN’s win over San Diego.

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“It may be a tough situation for Peter if everybody stays healthy,” Cassidy said. “But we do have the option of redshirting him next season. He is still only 17 years old. At least he is traveling with us, seeing the places we play. With a weight training and running program, we can really develop him.”

Nothing for something: During the spate of early-season junior college tournaments, some host schools turn to armed forces teams in order to fill out anemic fields.

Valley and Ventura have beaten such teams--Valley pounded Los Angeles Air Force, 107-67, in the recent East Los Angeles tournament, for example--but neither will get credit for a victory when state tournament seedings are made.

“The first thing they do is draw lines through these and adjust overall records,” Valley Coach Jim Stephens said.

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Although a loss would be similarly erased, it would not be ignored by a seeding committee. Outside of the benefits of simply playing a game, matchups with armed forces squads are virtually no-win propositions.

Stephens said in the future he will enter his team in only the tournaments that guarantee no armed forces teams in the field and that he dropped his own tournament because he could not make that guarantee.

Keep an eye on . . .: David Swanson, the CSUN swingman from Glendale College and Alemany High, has provided the Matadors with a spark off the bench, particularly in the past two games.

Against Cal State Long Beach he had 13 points, six rebounds and two assists in 21 minutes. Against San Diego, he made four of five shots for nine points, pulled down five rebounds and made a key blocked shot. “I feel Coach Cassidy is showing a little more confidence and it is allowing me to be more confident,” Swanson said.

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HOME SWEET HOME

The Cal State Northridge men’s basketball team is enjoying mixed results in its first season at the NCAA Division 1 level, but in games at Matador Gymnasium and on the road there are definite trends.

At home

Opponent FG% 3-point % Result Northern Arizona 42.2 45.4 109-90 win Univ. of San Diego 50.0 50.0 83-73 win On the road Opponent FG% 3-point % Result Colorado 37.1 36.4 113-89 loss Colorado State 38.9 32.0 104-79 loss New Mexico State 32.1 19.0 120-62 loss Montana 34.2 26.5 108-73 loss Montana State 41.1 31.3 107-78 loss Cal State Long Beach 40.5 23.5 88-73 loss Totals At home 45.2 47.2 2 wins On the road 37.2 29.2 6 losses

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Staff writers Theresa Munoz and Brendan Healey contributed to this notebook.


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