Chevalier, CSUN Don’t Slip at End : College basketball: Guard’s free throws key 89-84 victory.


As if to answer a challenge from his coach, Andre Chevalier showed in the final seconds of a 89-84 win over Northeastern Illinois on Thursday night just how valuable he is to the Cal State Northridge basketball team.

With a little more than two minutes left in the game, the Matadors’ senior point guard let the ball slide off his hand, resulting in a turnover and a Northeastern Illinois basket that trimmed Northridge’s lead to four points.

As Matador players went to their bench for a timeout, Chevalier responded to Coach Pete Cassidy’s glare by muttering, “It slipped.”


Smiling ever so slightly, Cassidy shot back, “We don’t pay you the big bucks to let the ball slip.”

Chevalier did not reply, but it wasn’t too much later that he offered the final word on the matter. In the final 26 seconds, he sank four consecutive free throws as the Matadors held on for the victory in front of 128 at Pepperdine University’s Firestone Fieldhouse.

The game was played at Pepperdine because Northridge’s gym will not open until Monday because of earthquake damage.

Asked if he was ready to adopt the place after Northridge improved to 5-15, Cassidy replied, “Well, I’m undefeated here.”

Chevalier, who scored 18 points, said he wasn’t quite ready to abandon the Northridge gym. However, he did enjoy putting on a home, white jersey for the first time in five weeks.

“It just felt good to be in these uniforms,” he said.

But was the white too bright? Cassidy, after watching the Matadors open the game with five consecutive turnovers, was seeing road red.


“I think the brightness of the uniforms was in their eyes,” Cassidy said.

Fortunately for Northridge, the problem seemed only to affect the starters.

Only 2 minutes 12 seconds into the game, Cassidy replaced his entire starting lineup.

“When we got to the fifth (turnover), that was it. Get out,” Cassidy said. “It was a message.”

And it came through loud and clear. The Northridge bench restored order and five Matadors ended up scoring in double figures.

Peter Micelli had 16 points and Brooklyn McLinn scored 15 among the starters. Coming off the bench, Brent Lofton added 14 and Robert Hill had 10. Shawn Stone added nine points and 10 rebounds.

The balanced scoring effort helped Northridge overcome a 33-point effort by Northeastern Illinois forward Reggie Smith.

Smith, who came in ranked 11th in the NCAA with a 24.2 scoring average, made five three-point shots and scored 18 points in the second half. Despite Smith’s efforts, the Golden Eagles shot 39.2%. However, they also outrebounded Northridge, 47-35.

Northeastern Illinois (13-9), which has been outrebounded only four times this season, had 29 offensive boards--18 in the second half.


Center Shannon Greene, a powerful 6-foot-7 senior, had 10 offensive rebounds among his 15 boards. He also scored 14 points. Ulyses Moran, a 6-8 senior, had 19 points and nine rebounds.

“Our big bodies didn’t jump with their big bodies,” Cassidy said.

Northridge doesn’t have a shooter like Smith, either, but the Matadors survived on balance. Lofton was particularly effective. In addition to his 14 points, Lofton grabbed seven rebounds. In his past four games the senior from El Camino Real High has come off the bench to score 48 points and take down 28 rebounds.