SAN DIEGO — Cal State Northridge players clung so hard to a five-point lead in the closing minutes Tuesday night that the hoop seemed to slam shut for their effort.
Just when it appeared the Matadors would survive, Nosa Obasohan nailed a three-point shot with two seconds play to give San Diego a 71-69 victory at the Sports Center.
"The guy grabs the ball by his ankles and gets up a shot," Northridge Coach Bobby Braswell said. "That's called making a play."
It was one more play than Northridge (1-3) could make down the stretch.
The Matadors never got a good shot after Jabari Simmons made a layup with 2:35 to play, missing two shots and turning the ball over twice.
Obasohan, a senior whose 17 points matched his career high, made two free throws with two minutes left and Brian Miles scored 30 seconds later to pull San Diego (3-2) close.
Northridge's last possession ended with a desperation shot by Greg Minor with one second left on the shot clock. Obasohan and Simmons ended up with a jump ball and the Toreros took over with 30 seconds left.
Unable to get the ball to post players Miles or Ryan Williams, guard Alex Parker penetrated and passed to the shoe tops of Obasohan, who scooped up the ball and shot from 21 feet in one motion.
"It didn't look like it would go our way," San Diego Coach Brad Holland said. "We called a play and they took us out of it."
Eleven consecutive points by Minor on three three-pointers and two free throws gave Northridge a 66-59 lead with 4:20 to play. A free throw by Simmons was countered by a basket by Williams and a three-point play by Miles.
Simmons' layup put the Matadors ahead, 69-64, but that was the last of the Northridge offense.
"We got a lead, then our guys became tentative," Braswell said. "[San Diego] had been in a zone and went to a man-to-man, something we normally drool over."
Minor scored 21 points and Mike O'Quinn had 15, but only one in the second half. Derrick Higgins and Brian Heinle each scored 12 and Higgins had seven assists.
Northridge forward Jabari Simmons did not play the first 10 minutes because the team bus had to wait for him before leaving for San Diego. "These little internal things are distractions," Coach Bobby Braswell said. "We need guys who do what they are supposed to do." . .. Northridge was greeted by several people with ties to the region besides San Diego Coach Brad Holland, who attended Crescenta Valley High and UCLA. Torero assistant coach Marty Wilson played at Simi Valley High and Pepperdine in the 1980s, and referee Terry Tackett is the principal at Camarillo High. San Diego junior Brock Jacobsen, a former All-Valley player from Crescenta Valley, scored one point.
* PEPPERDINE: Waves slip past CS Fullerton, 65-61. C4