Cal State Northridge has usually been on the receiving end of the reverse dunks and the cherry-pick layups that spell Showtime. On Monday night, the Matadors got a chance to dish it out in a 123-91 victory over U.S. International.
For the first time in Northridge's inaugural Division I season, Coach Pete Cassidy was able to take his starters out one at a time--to the cheers of a crowd of 789 at Matador Gymnasium. And for the first time, the Matadors were able to show their stuff en route to a school-record 123 points.
Freshman Martin Smith's jump shot with 54 seconds left surpassed the record of 118, set in 1988. The 32-point margin of victory was the highest of the season for CSUN, which improved to 7-11 overall and 5-1 at home.
But while Smith's jumper broke the record, probably the most spectacular of an array of late-game fast breaks came following a rebound by Sean Davis. He then whipped a blind outlet pass to Kirk Scott who set up Dave Swanson with an alley-oop pass for a dunk.
"I'm sure Kirk is thrilled about that dunk," Northridge Coach Pete Cassidy said. "It's nice to get the guys in who often don't get the chance, but on a daily basis contribute to the team's development."
Six Northridge players scored in double figures, including Scott, a senior forward, who scored a career-high 14 points on 70% shooting in 14 minutes of play.
The Matadors were led in scoring by Kyle Kerlegan who connected on seven three-pointers on 13 attempts for 23 points.
"I'm just not thinking about it," said Kerlegan, who had been mired in a shooting slump. "I'm letting it fly and staying loose."
Teammate Todd Bowser passed the 1,000 mark in career scoring with 20 points to give 1,002 at CSUN. He also grabbed 12 rebounds, as did Shelton Boykin.
Bowser hit four of eight field goals and 12 of 14 free throws for his highest output of the season.
"It feels so much better when you win," he said. "We went to the boards hard and we beat 'em back down the floor time and time again, that's the effort we need going. . . . "
Freshman guard Andre Chevalier also helped with seven assists and nine points.
The Gulls fell to 1-21 and saw their losing streak grow to 17 games.
Kevin Bradshaw, who scored 72 points against Loyola Marymount, the most points by a Division I player against a Division I team, hit for 53 points against the Matadors and increased his average to 37.3 points per game.
"I'm not worrying about scoring," Bradshaw said. "But before I leave I would like to win a few games."
Northridge led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but in the final 54 seconds of the half--with seldom-used freshmen Peter Micelli and Smith inserted into the lineup--Bradshaw cut the lead to 11 with six straight points.
But Chevalier swished a three-point basket at the buzzer to increase the margin to 14 at halftime, 60-46.
USIU pulled within five points on consecutive three-point baskets by Bradshaw early in the second half, but Kerlegan drained consecutive three- point baskets to push the advantage to 11, 73-62 with 15 minutes 28 seconds to go.
"There was concern on my part at that point and I thank Kyle for relieving it," Cassidy said.
Northridge increased the deficit to 19 at 86-67 with a 9-0 run made up of Percy Fisher's follow dunk, a Kerlegan three-point basket, a steal and layup by Kerlegan and a layup by Boykin off a feed from Keith Gibbs.
Northridge senior guard Erik Cooper regained his academic eligibility Monday, the first day of the new semester, and suited up for the first time this season.