Gonzaga Makes Like Godzilla, Crushes CSUN

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In Cal State Northridge's three previous Division I basketball seasons, there was only one occasion a more lopsided defeat.

Never, however, has there been a bigger mismatch over a short period than there was early in the second half Saturday night against Gonzaga.

In a span of 10 minutes, Gonzaga built a three-point lead into a 36-point advantage on its way to a 90-57 victory in the third-place game of the Stanford Invitational.

Keyed by the play of guard Geoff Goss, the Bulldogs (1-1) went on a 36-3 run in a 10-minute span. In one overwhelmingly one-sided 6-minute 10-second burst, Gonzaga ran off 24 points.

Northridge's only worse defeat was a 58-point loss against New Mexico State in November of 1990, in its third game after moving up from Division II.

Pete Cassidy, Northridge's coach, referred to Gonzaga's scoring spree as "an avalanche."

Gonzaga's Dan Fitzgerald, who coached against Cassidy long ago in the high school ranks, thoroughly enjoyed the reunion. During the Bulldogs' decisive streak, he said, "(We) couldn't throw anything in and all of a sudden we're running and life is good again."

For Gonzaga, it certainly was.

The blitz started with the Matadors trailing, 32-29. During the run, Gonzaga made 13 of 15 field-goal attempts, including all four from three-point range.

Goss, a senior from Boise, Ida., scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in a span of 5 1/2 minutes. Jeff Brown contributed 17 points and Jeff Rillie added 13 for the Bulldogs, who shot 63%.

"We were down by three and the next time I looked up we were down by 20," said Andre Chevalier, who had 15 points and four steals for Northridge. "It happened fast ."

Which is not to say defeat came painlessly.

Chevalier twisted his left ankle when he landed awkwardly on the foot of a Gonzaga defender after attempting a jump shot with a little more than two minutes to play.

He was taken immediately to the Stanford training room and later was hobbling around on crutches, his ankle wrapped in ice.

The frustration throbbing in his head was no less pronounced than the ache in his foot. "Everybody has got some soul searching to do," he said.

Since proclaiming themselves worthy of postseason consideration, the Matadors have lost their only two games by a total of 64 points. The Matadors made 21 of 66 field-goal attempts and were outrebounded, 48-21.

"I think we just wore them down," Fitzgerald said diplomatically. "I think it was a question of big bodies against smaller bodies."

Cassidy acknowledged a size disadvantage but did not accept the excuse.

"We're aware of that," he said. "We have to play to it though, because that's reality. I expect us to be more patient than we have been in executing our motion offense."

As it is, Northridge's offense lacks . . . well . . . motion.

"I don't think size is the problem," said forward Chris Yard, the Matadors' top scorer with 17 points. "We have to make up for size in other areas. When we don't do that, things won't go smoothly."

Added Chevalier: "We're robotic, and you can't run an offense like that. We need to relax and have some fun."

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