Northridge Moves Into First Against Last-Place Hornets


If there is a gimme in Big Sky Conference play, it’s Cal State Sacramento.

At least for Cal State Northridge.

The Matadors went about business as usual with another thrashing of Sacramento, 100-73, before a tranquil 1,028 Wednesday night at the Matadome.

The first-place Matadors (14-8, 7-2 in conference play) defeated the last-place Hornets (3-15, 0-7) for the 10th consecutive time and 12th consecutive meeting at Northridge, which extended its series lead over Sacramento to 29-7.

The Matadors have won their last nine games against Sacramento by an average of 22.7 points, and haven’t lost to the Hornets since 1986.


“They came with all they had,” Northridge guard Markus Carr said. “But we’re out there to win. We’re not overlooking anybody.”

Northridge coasted to a 56-35 halftime lead and led by as much as 33 in the second half en route to its third consecutive victory and fifth in six games.

That led to reserves having their day on court.

Every player scored, except freshman Keith Jackson, who has tallied all of 17 minutes this season.

“It’s really hard, in games like this, to maintain that focus, but our guys really stayed focused on what we were doing,” Northridge Coach Bobby Braswell said. “The challenge I made to them at halftime was not to look at the scoreboard and maintain our level of play.”

A more formidable challenge for the Matadors figures to come tonight, when Weber State visits the Matadome in a battle for first. The Matadors moved a half-game ahead of idle Weber State (11-7, 6-2), which lost to Northridge, 89-78, this season at Ogden, Utah.

A more pressing concern is the health of forward Jeff Parris, who did not play against Sacramento because of a lower back injury sustained Tuesday during practice. The injury is similar to the one that sidelined Parris during the Big Sky Conference tournament two years ago, Braswell said.


Parris, who averages 14.9 points to rank third on the team, suited up but remained on the bench. He is questionable for tonight’s game.

“The trainer asked us if we could hold him out and, hopefully, he’ll respond to treatment,” Braswell said. “We’ve got back-to-back games, so we have to use some smarts here.”

As is usually the case, Northridge had little trouble from the beginning against Sacramento, which lost its eighth in a row.

Brian Heinle and Marco McCain each connected on two three-point shots to help stake Northridge to a 29-13 lead.

McCain, recently moved into a starting role, scored a career-high 22 points. He was three of five on three-point shots. Heinle, the Big Sky’s scoring and rebounding leader, had 22 points and seven rebounds.

Carr made two free throws and has a school-record 31 consecutive. He finished with eight points and 14 assists.


By halftime, the outcome seemed determined, and the crowd became quiet and seemed disinterested.

Braswell’s message to his team was clear: No letting up.

“He’s always the same way,” McCain said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re winning by 50 or not. He’s always intense. He let us know that we haven’t done anything yet. And we can’t let up on anybody.”

Northridge made 40 of 66 shots (60.6%) and forced a season-high 25 turnovers.

Pablo Gonzales and Rickie Glenn each had 20 points for Sacramento. The Hornets out-rebounded Northridge, 30-29.


* Men’s and women’s basketball standings and statistics. D12