Montana Beats Northridge With an Inside Job, 67-48
Undersized Cal State Northridge could not handle a trio of Montana post players who hit 89% of their shots Saturday night.
In falling, 67-48, to the Grizzlies before 662 at Matador Gym, Northridge (0-6) lost its ninth consecutive game dating to last season.
The Matadors trailed by only three points at halftime, but Montana outscored them, 19-6, in the first six minutes of the second half to take a 48-34 lead.
Montana (7-0) shot just 38% from the field in the first half, primarily on outside shots.
When the Grizzlies went inside in the second half to Daren Engellant (16 points), Nate Atchison (11 points) and Josh Lacheur (10 points), they buried Northridge.
“They (Northridge) were a little small,” said Engellant, who stands 6-foot-10. “We knew we needed to pound it into the post.”
In emphasizing his team’s 23-10 second-half rebounding advantage, Montana Coach Blaine Taylor said: "(Northridge Coach) Pete’s (Cassidy) recruited a nice collection of players, but I’m sure he’s still trying to improve their size.”
Said Cassidy: “Just because they’re bigger doesn’t automatically mean a (win). If we play hard and smart, we can neutralize that.”
The Matadors played hard, but Cassidy was displeased with the mental lapses that resulted in impatient ball movement, poor shot selection and ultimately a 33% shooting performance from the field, and 17 turnovers.
The miscues came in flurries. Instead of taking advantage of the Grizzlies’ shooting woes in the first half, CSUN turned the ball over on six of its last seven possessions of the half.
Five of the turnovers were poorly thrown passes that were intercepted by the Grizzlies who had switched to a zone defense.
“I wish I had some magical pill to eliminate the turnovers,” Cassidy said. “They drive me up the wall.”
Northridge’s best post defender, Percy Fisher, was driven up the wall by fouls.
After missing his first four shots, Fisher was just warming up with three consecutive baskets when he picked up his third foul.
It sent him to the bench for the last five minutes of the first half.
Fisher was not whistled for a foul in the second half, but he only scored five points after intermission and finished with a team-high 13 points and seven rebounds.
Point guard Andre Chevalier scored 10 points on perfect shooting and Keith Gibbs scored nine points and had a team-high six assists.