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Heinle Takes Fifth Big Sky Honor

February 27, 2001|VINCE KOWALICK

Center Brian Heinle of Cal State Northridge was selected Big Sky Conference player of the week for the fifth time this season after leading the Matadors to victories over Montana and Montana State.

Heinle, a 6-foot-9 senior, had 43 points and 23 rebounds while recording his 15th and 16th double-double of the season. Heinle is averaging 20.5 points and 9.4 rebounds to lead the Big Sky in both categories.

Northridge (18-9, 11-3 in the Big Sky) plays Thursday at Eastern Washington (15-9, 10-4) in a game that likely will determine the Big Sky regular-season championship.

"It's going to be a really tough game," Heinle said.

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Forward Lionel Benjamin has provided Northridge followers with a glimpse of things to come.

Benjamin, a 6-4 sophomore forward, scored a career-high 15 points in his third consecutive start Saturday against Montana State. He scored a career-high eight points two nights earlier against Montana.

"Lionel has just been on a tear," Northridge Coach Bobby Braswell said.

Benjamin has filled in for Jeff Parris, who has been hobbled by a sore back.

"I'm just trying to play hard and fill Jeff's shoes," Benjamin said. "They're big shoes to fill."

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Cal Lutheran (19-6) will play Linfield (20-5) on Thursday in the opening round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.

The schools have not met in men's basketball since Linfield posted a 99-80 victory in December 1982.

The Kingsmen won their fourth Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship this season with a 12-2 record.

The winner plays at Lewis & Clark in the second round Saturday.

Forward Justin Muth leads Cal Lutheran in scoring, averaging 20.3 points.

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