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Northridge stops Fullerton

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Cal State Northridge took control of the Big West Conference race and remains on track for its first conference title after defeating Cal State Fullerton, 82-74, Thursday night at Fullerton

Five players scored in double figures for Northridge (19-7, 11-2), three of them off the bench. Starting forward Jonathan Heard led the way with 19.

But it was defense that ruled the day for the Matadors, who held the Titans (18-8, 10-4) to 37.1% shooting and only three of 22 from three-point range.

Northridge, which was 3-3 in its last six games, can clinch a tie for the conference title by winning one of its remaining three games. Northridge joined the Big West in 2001 and has never finished higher than third.

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This was a big stride for Cal State Northridge in the Big West.

Guard Josh Jenkins had eight points and seven assists.

The teams exchanged leads throughout, but Northridge used a 10-4 run starting with about eight minutes to play to go up 67-62 and did not relinquish the lead after that. Fullerton made only two field goals in the final five minutes and Northridge secured the victory by making six of eight free throws in the final minute.

The victory ended an eight-game losing streak to Fullerton, which set a season low for three-point baskets made and another by shooting only 13.6% on three-pointers.

The Titans were shooting 39.7% on three-pointers for the season.

-- Peter Yoon

UC Irvine 64, Long Beach State 57 -- Patrick Sanders scored the Anteaters’ final 11 points in a victory over the 49ers at Irvine.

Patrick Hunter scored 15 points and Darren Fells added nine points and seven rebounds for Irvine (13-14, 7-6). Cornel Williams scored 19 points to lead the 49ers (6-21, 3-10).

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Long Beach State opened by turning the ball over on its first three possessions. The 49ers went on a 9-2 run capped by a free throw by Williams with 6:07 left in the half to build a five-point lead at 22-17.

The Anteaters rallied from an eight-point deficit in the second half and a three-point basket by Sanders with 4:10 left gave the Anteaters the lead for good at 56-55.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo 70, UC Riverside 63 -- The Mustangs forced overtime on Titus Shelton’s put-back with 4.5 seconds left and held on to defeat the Highlanders at San Luis Obispo.

Riverside (7-18, 3-10 Big West) had a chance to win it in regulation but Larry Cunningham missed a three-point attempt.

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The teams traded buckets three times in the first three minutes of overtime with Cal Poly (11-15, 6-7) taking the lead for good, 64-61, after Shawn Lewis scored three points.

Lorenzo Keeler led the Mustangs with 22 points, while Dreshawn Vance added 19. Cunningham led the Highlanders with 19 points.

WOMEN

Arizona 64, USC 62 -- The Trojans not only lost to the Wildcats, they could have lost Nadia Parker for the season.

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Parker left 12 minutes into the game at the Galen Center with the Trojans leading, 19-13. She injured a knee and the extent of the injury was not know.

She will have an MRI exam today and is not expected to play Saturday against Arizona State.

USC rallied from a 60-52 deficit with less than four minutes remaining to tie the score, 62-62, on Camille LeNoir’s three-point basket with 36 seconds to play. Tasha Dickey answered underneath with 6.1 seconds left for Arizona, but LeNoir’s three-pointer at the buzzer missed. LeNoir scored a game-high 16.

Fourth-place USC (17-11, 10-7), which had a six-game winning streak against Arizona (10-18, 4-13), lost for only the second time in 13 games at home.

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“Considering we were playing well and had a shot at the [NCAA] tournament, it’s pretty devastating,” USC Coach Mark Trakh said of losing Parker, a 6-foot-3 center who is the team’s leading scorer (12.4) and rebounder (6.7).

“We have to win the next three games, mandatory. Arizona State, UCLA and Stanford.

“The string of injuries just continues. Losing her, it’s devastating at this point in the season.”

The Trojans, who lost guards Jacki Gemelos and Stefanie Gilbreath for the season because of knee injuries, have had five other key players miss 20 games collectively.

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-- Martin Henderson

Arizona State 73, UCLA 67 -- The Bruins continued their late-season slide, falling behind by double digits early in the first half and losing their third Pacific 10 Conference game in the last four, at Pauley Pavilion.

The loss secured fifth place in the Pac-10 for UCLA. The Bruins (14-14, 9-8) will next play Arizona on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion.

Nina Earl scored 12 points for the Bruins. Arizona State is 19-9, 13-4.

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-- Dan Arritt


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