Smith Helps CSUN to 2-0 Big West Start
Junior Kendall Smith (Antioch, Calif./UNLV) provided all-around production to help CSUN to its first 2-0 conference start in three seasons, earning him Big West Men’s Basketball Player of the Week accolades.
A 6-3 guard, Smith averaged 17.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists as the Matadors downed UC Riverside (82-76) and Cal State Fullerton (70-65) to extend their winning streak to three straight games.
Smith finished with 21 points – his third 20-point game of the year – along with a career-high nine assists, four rebounds and a steal in the win over the Highlanders. He did not commit a turnover while playing the full 40 minutes. Smith helped the Matadors erase a 13-point second half deficit as he shot 10-for-10 at the free throw line.
Smith is the second player this season to make at least 10 free throws without a miss – Kyle Allman of Cal State Fullerton versus Portland State was the other.
He helped wipe out another deficit in the triumph over the Titans. Trailing by seven at halftime, the Matadors shot 50.0 percent in the second half with Smith at the controls. He finished the game with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting, and chipped in four rebounds, four assists, and a key blocked shot in the final 30 seconds that preserved a four-point lead.
For the week, Smith shot 50 percent (11-for-22) from the field and 78.6 percent (11-for-14) at the foul line.
Others nominated: Lionheart Leslie (Cal State Fullerton); Roschon Prince (Long Beach State); Brynton Lemar (UC Davis); Ioannis Dimakopoulos (UC Irvine); Malik Thames (UC Riverside)