The 1985-86 basketball season has had plenty of low points for Cal State Northridge Coach Pete Cassidy.
Let's see, there was the 37-point, season-opening loss to Wyoming in November. And still fresh in Cassidy's mind is last week's catastrophe at Chapman, a relatively weak team in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. CSUN made Chapman look like world-beaters.
But Cassidy hit rock bottom with a resounding thud during the first half of his team's game with UC Riverside on Friday night.
On their way to a 56-42 loss, the Matadors managed only 17 points in the half, including just four field goals.
CSUN's offense featured blown layups, botched passes and lots of air balls and bricks--with some traveling violations and bad ball handling mixed in.
When the Matadors fell behind, 8-0, Cassidy stood on the side of the court looking like he wanted to crawl under the bench.
"I just sat there so damn helpless," he said. "We started with two turnovers and a stupid blocking foul. I knew we were in trouble.
"I've had dreams that we've been shut out. I thought, 'Oh no, here it is--the dream has finally come true.' "
Part of CSUN's problem was a lack of penetration against the Islanders' defense. Like many of the Matadors' opponents this season, Riverside pressured Northridge.
Islander guards Brad Husen, Anthony Holt and Andre Greer forced Paul Drecksel and Troy Dueker to set up so far out that the whole Matador offense was disrupted.
"Our turnovers killed us," said forward Pat Bolden. "That was the bottom line. We got lackadaisical on offense and our shots weren't falling."
All season, the Matadors have depended on perimeter shooting. But Friday night, the outside game deserted them. Drecksel, CSUN's leading scorer for the season, hit 1 of 9 shots.
When the Matadors tried to go inside against Islanders Craig Fuller (6-8) and Paul Kapturkiewicz (6-9), their shots were rammed back into their faces.
Said Cassidy: "Some of our inside shots we shouldn't have tried. Hell, it doesn't take too many brains to know the guy was 6-10. Those shots are going to hit elbows. That's what our shots hit--their elbows.
"Hell, that's a good basketball team. They have a 6-10 center who is backed up by a 6-9 guy. They've got three Division I players on that team. Kapturkiewicz, Robert Jimerson and Andre Greer.
"They were bigger than us, quicker than us, more talented than us--better than us."
And it didn't take a lot of brains to figure that out, either.
After trailing, 29-17 at the half, CSUN staged a short-lived comeback against Riverside, which went into the game ranked 14th in the NCAA Division II poll of coaches.
With just more than 13 minutes left, Jimmy Daniels and Bolden combined for nine points and the lead was cut to 36-30.
Jimerson completed a three-point play, lifting the margin back to nine. Riverside then jumped to a 15-point lead, and the Matadors never recovered.
Daniels led the Matadors with 16 points. Bolden added 11.
Anthony Holt and Jimerson had 14 points each for the Islanders, who are 14-3 and 4-0 in the conference. CSUN fell to 8-8, 1-3.
"We were tired and had too many mental lapses," Cassidy said. "I felt sorry for the guys. We had to play almost a perfect game to beat them."
UC Riverside 29 27 -- 56
CS Northridge 17 25 -- 42
UC RIVERSIDE--Labasan 2; Husen 8; Holt 14; Greer 7; Jimerson 14; Fuller 2; Kapturkiewicz 8; Brumwell 1.
CS NORTHRIDGE--Daniels 16; Drecksel 4; Dueker 3; Bolden 11; Hecht 3; Carr 1; Hobus 4.