What fortunate timing.
Just when it appeared Cal State Northridge might slip quietly out of the race for a California Collegiate Athletic Assn. postseason tournament berth, who should come up next on the schedule but Cal State Los Angeles.
Cal State L. A. (2-17) plays in a gym they call the Eagles Nest and it is threatening to lay a big goose egg for the CCAA season.
Northridge brought them another step closer to that dubious distinction with a 98-69 victory Tuesday night. The Golden Eagles have lost all eight of their CCAA games.
The Matadors (12-8 overall, 4-4 in the CCAA) were merely the latest group to unravel CSLA. Northridge plays with discipline. CSLA does not.
Northridge plays defense. CSLA does not.
Northridge had a coach last spring during recruiting season. CSLA did not.
To make matters worse for CSLA, Northridge hit its first 12 shots--including four three point shots. Counting free throws, it was 15 in a row. CSUN shot 67.9% in the first half and cooled off to 50% in the second half.
Last week, the Matadors scored 21 points in the first half in a win over Chapman.
They hit No. 21 Tuesday on a jump shot by Chuck McGavran 6:18 into the game.
In the first four minutes, Northridge had more steals than Cal State L. A. had points.
The Golden Eagles turned the ball over three of their first five times down the floor and the Matadors led, 13-2. You think the planets weren't in alignment for this one?
With 11:05 left in the half, CSUN's Alan Fraser, a 44% free-throw shooter, made 2 of 2.
The first one banked in.
Pity poor Carl Cooper. With 9:37 left, he broke Northridge's shooting streak by missing a 10-footer.
But wait, he had an excuse.
"I got fouled on that," he said. "He hit me on the arm. It would have gone in."
Cooper also missed a three-point shot at the buzzer that would have enabled the Matadors to break the 100-point mark. As it was, they settled for a season high. Northridge scored 87 in a loss to Cal State Sacramento in November.
Matador fans should have expected something was up when McGavran hit a three-point shot from the baseline the first time down the floor.
In a nine-point loss to Dominguez Hills on Saturday, he was 1 for 10, including 0 for 6 from three-point range.
"I needed it bad," McGavran said of his team-high 19-point performance. "Hopefully, this is the start of something good."
Coach Pete Cassidy, who has been CSUN's coach for 16 years and said a team of his had never made 12 in a row, was even more pleased about McGavran's showing with conference home games against Pomona on Thursday and UC Riverside on Saturday.