Somehow, it didn't bode well for Chapman College when the Panthers took a five-point halftime lead against Cal State Northridge.
If that sounds strange, here's a brief explanation:
--Thirty-five percent shooting from the field.
--Forty-six percent shooting from the free-throw line.
Those were the Matadors' first-half statistics, and, usually those kind of numbers add up to losing a basketball game. But, still, Northridge could take heart from one number--the five-point543582578moral victory after having recorded such paltry statistics.
So the moral victory came first and the actual victory followed as Northridge defeated Chapman, 61-55, Thursday in a California Collegiate Athletic Assn. game at Hutton Sports Center in front of 1,140.
The loss means Chapman (11-8) is tied with Cal State Dominguez Hills for sixth place at 2-4 in the conference. Northridge (11-7, 3-3), which came into Thursday's game having lost four of its last six, is in a fourth-place tie with Cal Poly Pomona.
For Chapman, the loss was especially difficult to take because the Panthers had an eight-point lead with 7:25 remaining. Then the Matadors outscored Chapman, 16-2, down the stretch. And the Panthers went scoreless in the last 4:45.
"They could have bellied up when they were 10 points down, but they sucked it up and showed the kind of character I knew they had," said Northridge Coach Pete Cassidy, whose team recorded just its second road victory of the season.
Said Chapman Coach Kevin Wilson: "We didn't take care of the ball and didn't do what we had to do. We played hard defensively and then we sort of lost some air down the stretch. . . . You know it (the Matadors' poor shooting) was going to get better eventually. But I like to think our defense had something to do with it."
Cassidy also felt that a significant factor was the way his center, Todd Bowser, played against Chapman's Kelly Huston.
Huston, who had foul trouble in the second half, led Chapman with 18 points, but just had two rebounds, a season low. On the other hand, Bowser had a game-high 20 points and 9 rebounds.
"That was a good battle inside," said Cassidy, who, as a matter of fact, once made a big push to recruit Huston. "I have a lot of respect for Kelly. Todd just did a super job on him."