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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Matadors Take One More Hit on Road

January 06, 1998|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CHENEY, Wash. — --Pull this show off the road.

For the seventh time in a row, Cal State Northridge bombed big-time on someone else's court, falling to Eastern Washington, 85-77, Monday night in a Big Sky Conference game in front of 1,017.

Not that Northridge (4-8, 0-2) didn't try anything and everything--including the unorthodox--to change the pattern.

The Matadors showed up less than an hour before the game, so they could warm up quickly and get going.

They sought unity a day earlier by going to a show, but "Jackie Brown" didn't help.

And forward Jabari Simmons was a no-show during the first half, held out by Coach Bobby Braswell because he missed curfew. The last time Simmons was similarly disciplined, Northridge beat Loyola Marymount.

But Eastern Washington (7-5, 1-1) showed off forward Karim Scott, who scored 24 points and made three of three from three-point range. Scott, the Big Sky's leading scorer, is the go-to player Northridge doesn't seem to possess.

"Early in the season I thought we had several, but right now nobody is stepping up," Braswell said. "We still have a lot of growing up and maturing to do. I thought it would happen earlier, but it hasn't."

Greg Minor scored 21, but made only five of 14 field goals. Mike O'Quinn had 14 and Carl Holmes had 12.

Defense is another trouble spot for Northridge. Eastern Washington is the Big Sky's worst three-point shooting team, but the Eagles made nine of 16 against the Matadors.

"We played good defense early then we got too cautious," Braswell said.

Northridge led, 15-8, with 12:45 to play in the first half, but Scott, Deon Williams and Tony McGee each made a three-pointer in the next two minutes for the Eagles.

Williams also made a shot at the first-half buzzer that summed up how things are going for Northridge. The sophomore from Verbum Dei High heaved the ball more than 60 feet and hit nothing but net, giving the Eagles a 42-33 lead.

Braswell and his team retreated to the locker room with slumped shoulders, then came out and never pulled closer than six in the second half.

Matador notes

Third-year Eastern Washington Coach Steve Aggers is a former Newbury Park resident who was an assistant at Pepperdine from 1990-94. . . Eagle guard Shannon Taylor, who scored 18 points, was part of Ventura College state championship teams in 1995 and 1996.

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