Cal State Northridge Advances To NCAA Tournament
Files associated with this release:
CSUN-PAC Box Score.pdf
Cal State Northridge defeated Pacific 71-66 in overtime, Saturday night, at the Anaheim Convention Center to capture its first Big West Conference Tournament championship. The win earned the top-seeded Matadors the Big West's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. CSUN (17-13) built an 18-point first half lead only to see it evaporate by the midway point of the second half. Another nine-point lead with under seven minutes left in regulation was also erased by Pacific (19-12).
Rodrigue Mels led Cal State Northridge with 23 points, including six points in the overtime period. Mark Hill added 15 points, and Rob Haynes finished with 10. Tremaine Townsend hauled in a game-high 12 rebounds for the Matadors.
Bryan LeDuc led Pacific with a game-high 24 points, and Michael Kirby added 16.
Despite the Tiger comebacks, the Matadors never trailed in the game. There were just four ties all night with the last coming in overtime after a three-point play by LeDuc made it 64-64. From that point, CSUN outscored Pacific 7-2 to close the extra period.
It took over three minutes for either team to score to start the game, but once Cal State Northridge did score it took complete control early on. The Matadors used an 18-0 run in less than a six-minute span to build a 21-3 lead midway through the first half. Pacific missed nine of its first 10 field goal attempts and was forced to play catch-up for the remainder of the night.
CSUN led 24-6 before the Tigers strung together 10 straight points. LeDuc had a three-pointer in the middle of the run, and Pacific held the Matadors scoreless for almost five minutes. The result was a 24-16 CSUN lead with 4:37 left in the half.
Pacific closed to within 30-25 on a three-pointer by Kirby with 1:23 remaining in the half before CSUN went to the break leading 33-27. The Matadors made five of six three-point field goal attempts in the first half and shot 44 percent overall in the half.
In the second half, Pacific continued to chip away at the deficit and eventually tied the game at 42-42 on a pair of free throws by Anthony Brown with 11:01 to play. It was the first tie since 3-3.
Cal State Northridge responded with a 9-0 run and looked poised to build another double-figure lead with a 51-42 advantage under the seven-minute mark. Instead, the lead was trimmed by a 9-3 Tiger burst that pulled Pacific within 54-53 with 3:04 left.
The Matadors led 61-56 with 1:19 to play before another Tiger push eventually sent the game into overtime. LeDuc knocked down a three-pointer with one minute left to draw the Tigers within two, and Kirby made two free throws with 5.4 seconds left to tie the game at 61-61.
Neither team excelled from the field as CSUN finished at 41 percent compared to 39 percent for Pacific. The Matadors sank 8-of-18 from beyond the arc compared to 9-for-23 by the Tigers. CSUN outrebounded Pacific, 40-37, and forced the Tigers into 15 turnovers.
Rodrigue Mels, Cal State Northridge (MVP)
Tremaine Townsend, Cal State Northridge
Bryan LeDuc, Pacific
Chad Troyer, Pacific
Josh Akognon, Cal State Fullerton
Chris Devine, UC Santa Barbara