Pacific (9-8) at Cal State Northridge (9-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 19, 10:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Matadome (1,600) -- Northridge, California. Television: None. Home Record: Pacific 6-2, CSUN 4-3. Away Record: Pacific 1-5, CSUN 2-6. Neutral Record: Pacific 2-1, CSUN 3-0. Conference Record: Pacific 3-2, CSUN 0-6. Series Record: Pacific leads, 22-6.
GAME NOTES: The only team in Big West Conference still without a league victory gives it another shot on Saturday night, as the Matadors of Cal State Northridge take the floor against the Pacific Tigers at The Matadome.
CSUN, which hasn't won since surprising Utah on the road back on Dec. 21, has fallen in six straight outings, all of them against conference foes. On Thursday night the Matadors almost got over the hump versus UC Davis at home, but still suffered a 74-71 setback.
While CSUN is sitting all alone at the bottom of the league standings at 0-6, the Tigers are tied with a pair of squads for fourth place at 3-2. Pacific had won three straight games coming into this week, but two nights ago the squad was held to just 52 points by the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors out in Honolulu in what turned into an eight-point loss.
Pacific, which has won eight of the last 10 meetings with the Matadors, leads the all-time series by a count of 22-6.
Sama Taku posted a team-best 15 points for the Tigers on Thursday night, but he shot only 1-of-6 beyond the arc, the team converting just 3-of-27 on the perimeter in the loss to Hawaii at the Stan Sheriff Center. Tony Gill came off the bench to offer up 12 points, while Khalil Kelley pulled down 10 rebounds in 16 minutes of action in the loss as well. Because the Tigers struggled behind the 3-point line, the team shot only 30.9 percent from the floor overall. The Tigers are the epitome of team play as Lorenzo McCloud stands as the lone double-digit scorer with his 11.2 ppg, yet the squad is still generating 68.4 ppg as they spread the wealth. Over five conference games, it is Taku who leads the way with 11.0 ppg as the group puts up 69.2 ppg and holds the competition to 61.6 ppg.
Considering the Matadors are the youngest team in college basketball, the fact that they came within three points of almost grabbing their first league win the other night is an encouraging sign. Stephen Maxwell tried to keep hope alive as he registered a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while adding four steals, but it just wasn't quite enough. Josh Greene dropped in 14 points, shooting 4-of-7 from 3-point range, while Allen Guei chipped in another 10 points as the team shot only 38.5 percent from the field, in addition to forcing 23 turnovers. Maxwell, who is shooting 55.6 percent from the floor on the season, leads the group on the glass with almost eight boards per game and is second in scoring with 13.6 ppg, trailing only Stephan Hicks with his 17.3 ppg. In addition to his 13.0 ppg, Greene is the one who has the most assists with 67, but that's still not good enough to gloss over his mere 35.6 percent shooting.
At some point the Matadors are going to put all the pieces together against a conference foe and considering how well the offense is operating at the moment, that time could be now in front of the hometown crowd.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Northridge 77, Pacific 74
01/19 10:39:30 ET