GAME NOTES: The Cal State Northridge Matadors look to end a four-game losing streak as they host the UC Riverside Highlanders in Big West Conference action at the Matadome.
Riverside has lost five of its last seven games, but ended a two-game skid with a 61-58 escape-act win against Cal Poly Saturday. The Highlanders are second to last in the Big West with a 2-4 conference record.
Cal State Northridge had a 10-7 record and was 2-0 in Big West play before embarking on a four-game losing streak. The Matadors have dropped four in a row for the first time all season, and are now tied with UC Riverside with a 2-4 conference record. Northridge lost its most recent outing, 76-62, to Long Beach State.
The Matadors have the all-time series advantage over UC Riverside, 37-32. The Highlanders lost the most recent matchup with Cal State Northridge in February of 2013, but have won four of the last six meetings overall.
Riverside was able to erase an 11-point Cal Poly lead on Saturday as the Highlanders came back to take the Big West win in surprising fashion. The Mustangs, with a win, would've tied up the Big West Conference lead with UC Irvine. Chris Patton scored 17 points to lead Riverside over Cal Poly, while Steven Jones netted 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the double-double. Sam Finley also chipped in 10 points.
Patton leads the team in scoring this season with a 13.4 ppg average on exactly 50 percent shooting from the floor. Patton chips in a healthy 6 rpg average and a second-best 15 blocked shots for the Highlanders. Taylor Johns is second in scoring with 12.4 ppg and a team-best 8.2 rpg and 39 blocked shots. Finley is the third and final player averaging double figures with 11.3 ppg.
Cal State Northridge went into the locker room at halftime only trailing Long Beach State by three points, 39-36. But LBSU exploded in the second half, while Northridge went cold, shooting just 32.1 percent in the second frame. Stephan Hicks led the Matadors with 17 points, while Stephen Maxwell chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds. Landon Drew added 10 points in the loss.
Maxwell, Hicks and Josh Greene are the three top scorers for a potentially potent Matadors offense. Maxwell tops the squad with 17.1 ppg, while Hicks (16.3 ppg) and Greene (14.8 ppg) are second and third, respectively. Maxwell tops the team in rebounding as well, adding 8.7 rpg to his stat line. Drew has a team-high 3.1 apg average. Northridge is scoring 73.6 ppg this season.
UC Riverside hasn't performed well this season, but pulled out a surprising victory over Cal Poly in its last outing. At some point the lack of offense (67 ppg) will catch up to the Highlanders, while Northridge should be able to get back on track at home in this one.
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