UC Riverside (3-10) at Cal State Northridge (9-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 3, 10:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Matadome (1,600) -- Northridge, California.
Television: Big West TV. Home Record: UCR 3-3, CSUN 4-0. Away Record: UCR 0-5,
CSUN 2-4. Neutral Record: UCR 0-2, CSUN 3-0. Conference Record: UCR 0-1, CSUN
0-1. Series Record: Cal State Northridge leads, 36-31. .
GAME NOTES: The UC Riverside Highlanders and Cal State Northridge Matadors
will both be vying for their first Big West Conference victory when they
collide at The Matadome on Thursday.
Jim Wooldridge's Highlanders will be looking to bounce back after blowing an
11-point lead in the second half to be defeated, 58-48, by Cal Poly in their
conference opener. UC Riverside is now sporting a disappointing 3-10 overall
record after being dealt losses in four of its last five appearances. The
Highlanders are the worst offensive team in the conference with a mere average
of 57.2 points per game. They are however ranked third in scoring defense as
they are limiting the opposition to 65.3 ppg.
Cal State Northridge had its two-game winning streak, that included a five-
point decision over Utah, ended with a 74-71 loss at Hawaii in its first taste
of Big West action of the year on Dec. 30. The Matadors are now 9-4 overall
after beginning the 2012-13 campaign with six wins in a row. Coach Bobby
Braswell's squad has a contrasting style to the visitors, as it is second in
the conference in scoring with 80.5 ppg, but its opponents have produced 73.5
ppg, which is the third worst scoring defense average in the Big West.
Although CSUN holds a 36-31 all-time series lead over their Golden State
rivals, UC Riverside has been triumphant in three of the last four meetings.
The Highlanders escaped their Feb. 22, 2012 visit to the Matadome with a 63-61
UC Riverside was unable to get it done against Cal Poly its last time out as
its poor 30.8 shooting performance after halftime ruined its chances. The
Highlanders were held scoreless for the final 4:24 of the contest and the
Mustangs took care of business at the free throw line to bury them. Chris
Harriel led the team with 14 points while Chris Patton chipped in with 12
points. Although he has been held to eight points or less on six separate
occasions this season, Harriel is averaging a team-best 10.7 ppg. Patton is
netting 10.2 ppg after three-straight double-digit scoring outings and Josh
Fox is helping the Highlanders on the boards with 6.1 per contest. Freshman
forward Taylor Johns (5.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg) is becoming a bigger part of the
rotation by the game and is due for a breakout performance.
The Matadors have impressive numbers on the offensive end due to their
talented sophomore guard Stephan Hicks, who is third on the conference
leaderboard with 18.4 points per contest to go along with 8.5 rpg. Hicks gave
CSUN a chance against Hawaii by tallying 25 points and eight boards and
Stephen Maxwell added a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Junior
guard Josh Greene, who is the Matadors' second leading scorer (13 ppg) and
best distributor (4.5 apg), also got into the mix by netting 15 points on 6-
of-14 shooting from the floor.
Cal State Northridge's close loss to the Warriors on the road showed that it
is a talented and capable unit. UC Riverside will need to shut down Hicks and
make the other Matadors step into unfamiliar roles. or it will quickly fall to
0-2 in the league standings.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Northridge 71, UC Riverside 61
01/03 10:42:36 ET
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