Bryan Dell'Amico scored all of three points. One free throw and one basket.
The basket was a layup--degree of difficulty near zero.
There was no pressure. More than three minutes remained in the game. And all it did was give Cal State Dominguez Hills a five-point lead.
But it hit Cal State Northridge right where it hurts most at this juncture of the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. basketball race: in the loss column.
Dominguez Hills defeated Northridge, 65-56, Saturday night at Toro Gym in Carson and afterward two things were vivid in the mind of Pete Cassidy, CSUN's coach:
The Matadors' place in the standings and that blankity-blank little layup.
That really hurt us big time," Cassidy said. "We play good defense and the clock is running down, then we miss one assignment and they score on an easy shot like that. It gave them a big lift."
In the game. And in the standings.
The demise of Dominguez Hills, last season's CCAA champion, turned out to be very short-lived.
The Toros, 9-10 overall and 3-4 in the CCAA, have won three in a row and jumped into the race for a berth in the conference's four-team postseason tournament.
Northridge took a step back to meet them halfway. The Matadors are 11-8 overall, and also 3-4 in conference games.
There is a four-way tie for fourth place among Northridge, Dominguez Hills, Cal Poly Pomona and Chapman. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal State Bakersfield, which both won Saturday, are tied for first at 6-1. UC Riverside is 4-3.
"At this point, every loss just buries us deeper and deeper," Cassidy said. "Realistically, we're just trying to get in the tournament now."
Now, about that layup.
It was one of several shots Dominguez Hills made in the second half as the 45-second clock was about to run out.
You think the clock keeps teams from stalling?
Not when they continuously get second and third chances at scoring as the Toros did.
"At least six times they scored on follow shots--and we did a good job on defense," Cassidy said.
"Give them credit. They played well. They shot well and we made some foolish plays."
Dominguez, which is 7-2 at home, shot 52%. Northridge, 2-7 on the road, shot 45%, but only 34.3% in the second half.
The Toros opened up a 44-33 advantage with 11:55 left in the game as Northridge hit a cold spell and went more than seven minutes without a field goal.
Pat Bolden sparked a Matador comeback, however, and CSUN cut the lead to three, 55-52, with 3:52 remaining on a three-point shot.
Bolden scored a team-high 17 points, including 14 in the second half. But he had a chance to trim the Toros' lead to two with 1:03 left and missed two free throws.
Dominguez Hills, which is shooting 77% from the free-throw line, made 7 of 8 in the last 54 seconds to stretch its margin of victory.
Ray Horwath had 12 for the Matadors, but Todd Bowser was held to 9, his lowest total in the conference season.
Most disturbing to Cassidy, however, was the point production of CSUN's starting guards.
Their scoring ability, he said, has a direct effect on Bowser, the Matadors' 6-8 sophomore center.
"They're sagging way back our guards and saying, 'Go ahead, shoot,' " Cassidy said.
And they did. For a while. Without much success.
Chuck McGavran, the "shooting guard," was 1 of 10 and finished with two points. Troy Dueker, a point guard whose forte is passing, was 4 of 5 and had 8 points.
Anthony Blackmon led the Toros with 17 points. Leonard Eaton and 12 and Derrick Clark had 11.
Northridge shot 63.1% in the first half and still trailed, 35-26.
Dominguez Hills shot 53.3%, but had 11 more field-goal attempts because of its own good ballhandling and seven Matador turnovers.
Northridge led, 24-22, with six minutes left in the half, but was outscored, 10-0, in the next five minutes as the Toros converted on five successive trips down the floor.
Blackmon, a 6-7 junior center, was particularly effective against Northridge's man-to-man defense.
He scored 10 points in the half--all on medium-range jump shots.