Cal State Northridge (5-7, 3-1 Big West) at Long Beach State (2-10, 0-3), 7 -- Northridge hit its nation-leading average of 12 steals a game in a 66-52 victory over UC Irvine on Thursday in which the Matadors forced 22 turnovers. Jonathan Heard, a 6-foot-5 freshman guard, had 16 points against Irvine after scoring a season-high 19 against UC Santa Barbara. Long Beach has been plagued by turnovers. "We've shown fight throughout the season," Coach Larry Reynolds said. "We need to start showing more than just fight." Senior Chris Jenkins had a season-high 15 points Thursday in the 49ers' 68-60 loss to Pacific.
Pacific (9-2, 4-0) at UC Irvine (6-4, 1-2), 7, KUCI-FM (88.9), KWRM (1370) -- Irvine had won five in a row before it ran into Northridge's 1-3-1 zone trap and was outscored, 41-16, in the second half Thursday. On a positive note, freshman forward Darren Fells had his first double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. "He's just really smart," Coach Pat Douglass said. "He has quick feet and good hands." Pacific is atop the conference standings, but veteran Coach Bob Thomason was too disgusted to talk after his team's victory over Long Beach State. The Tigers let a 20-point second-half lead get whittled to six amid a haze of turnovers, poor execution and bad free-throw shooting.
UC Santa Barbara (4-7, 2-2) at Idaho (4-9, 2-0), 7, KTLK (1340) -- A strained groin kept forward Cameron Goettsche out of Santa Barbara's 80-70 loss to Utah State on Thursday and left the Gauchos with only one healthy frontcourt player. Guard Joe See tried to pick up the slack, making eight three-point baskets and scoring a career-high 26 points. Idaho is led by forward Dandrick Jones, who is averaging 16.5 points and 5.8 rebounds.
UC Davis (5-7) at Cal State Fullerton (6-4), 7 -- Davis is playing a Big West schedule, but the Aggies' games won't count in the standings until next season. Davis is led by two Southland high school products -- forward Ryan Moore of Brea Olinda and guard Fowzi Abdelsamad of Fairfax. Both are averaging more than 14 points a game. The Titans are off to their best start in six seasons. Hardy Asprilla, a 6-foot-5 forward from Colombia, is averaging 8.0 points and 8.8 rebounds. He had a season-high 16 rebounds Thursday against UC Riverside.
-- Eric Stephens