Three weeks ago, Cal State Los Angeles was a team that had lost 32 consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Assn. basketball games.
On Friday afternoon, Cal State L.A. was a team that had lost 34 of its past 36 CCAA games.
On Friday night at the Cal State Northridge gym, the Golden Eagles became a team that has won three of its past five.
Led by LaVar Ball's 18-point, eight-rebound effort, Cal State L. A. snapped a six-game losing streak against CSUN, defeating the Matadors, 57-48.
All of which left Northridge, a team that before last week was unbeaten in the CCAA, with a three-game losing streak.
The Golden Eagles, who came in making 43% of their field-goal attempts, shot 58.3% for the game, including 68% in the first half.
Coincidence? If so, that makes three such occurrences in a row.
Ball, a senior from Canoga Park High, made seven of 13 shots, many on layups or short banks after taking lobs against the Matadors' (appropriately named) defense.
While Ball worked on the inside, guard Mike Varos, a 5-foot-8 junior, hit from long distance. Varos scored 14 points and made three of five from three-point range.
Northridge, meanwhile, couldn't strike with consistency. The Matadors shot 34% and made only five of 25 in the second half.
Derrick Gathers, CSUN's leading scorer with a 19.1 average, was held to a season-low seven points. Gathers made only three of 15 shots, leaving him seven of 38--two of 16 from three-point range--in the Matadors' past two games.
"He's had open shots, they're just not going down," said Pete Cassidy, CSUN's coach.
The loss dropped Northridge to 9-11, 4-3 in the CCAA, only one game ahead of the surging Golden Eagles, who are 10-10, 3-4.
"LaVar Ball is a guy who makes a lot of things happen," Cassidy said. "You have to give credit to Cal State L.A. for executing their game plan as well as they did."
Cassidy said that the Golden Eagles' effectiveness in getting the ball to Ball was the key to the game.
"That's what they have to do to win and they did a good job of it," Cassidy said.
Henry Dyer, in his third season as Cal State L.A.'s coach, seems confident his team's recent winning trend will continue.
"It's like a baby," he said of his program. "You've got to crawl before you can walk. When I first got here, it wasn't even a baby. We were six months pregnant. We just didn't have any players."
Having hit stride, the Golden Eagles will try to win back-to-back games for the first time in Dyer's tenure when they play host to the Matadors tonight at 8:05.