The three-point play, new to the NCAA this season, is kind of like John McEnroe's style of tennis: Some people love it, and some people hate it.
The Cal State Sacramento basketball team loves it. It used one, a 22-foot jumper by Alex Williams on Tuesday night, to beat Cal State Northridge, 58-56, in a nonconference game at CSUN.
Does CSUN like the three-point play?
"Hell no," Coach Pete Cassidy said following the Matadors second game and second loss of the season.
Who can blame him? Sacramento converted six from beyond the 19-foot, 9-inch mark, and CSUN made one. "If you're not blessed with a shooter," Cassidy said, "you're at a tremendous disadvantage."
True. Williams, a 6-0 junior guard, made five of nine attempts from three-point range, and led all scorers with 19 points.
CSUN, which blew two nine-point leads, took a 56-55 lead on two free throws by guard Pat Bolden with 33 seconds left. Sacramento called a timeout with 29 seconds left and set up the game-winning play.
The Hornets put the ball in play, got it to Williams, and his shot was good with 17 seconds left, giving Sacramento the winning margin.
But the three-point play wasn't the only thing that bothered Cassidy and his Matadors. The blocked shot also figured greatly in Sacramento's first win in three games this season. The Hornets swatted nine CSUN shots. Hornet forward Cassius Kellybrew had five.
"Kellybrew is 6-8," Cassidy said, "and has the longest arms in creation.
"They have a good fast break, they have the three-pointer and they can block shots--using their feet and everything."
Of course, Cassidy was kidding, but what else could he say. CSUN didn't block a shot.
On the other hand, Cassidy still has reason to be optimistic only two games into the season. Pat Bolden, a 6-5 junior guard, scored a team-high 15 points and had eight rebounds. Roy Horwath, a 6-5 transfer from Sierra Community College, scored 12 points and had four rebounds. Along with 11 points, senior guard Paul Drecksel had six rebounds. In fact, CSUN outrebounded the Hornets, 33-26.