Northridge, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Stephen Maxwell tallied 20 points and eight rebounds, as the Cal State Northridge Matadors fended off a late run by the UC Irvine Anteaters to claim an 81-75 win in a Big West Conference showdown at The Matadome.
Josh Greene scored 17 points while knocking down all 11 of his free-throw attempts for CSUN (14-15, 6-7 Big West), which has won two of three. Stephan Hicks scored 16 points, Ben Vozzola netted 11 and Greene added six assists for the hosts.
For UCI (18-10, 9-3), which snapped a five-game winning streak, Luke Nelson poured in 17 points, Chris McNealy had 12 points and Alex Young registered eight points, eight assists and five steals.
CSUN carried a slim 37-36 lead into intermission. Even though it was outshot from the field by UCI in the opening 20 minutes, 53.8 percent to 42.9 percent, it took advantage of its ample free-throw tries (18-of-20).
The Matadors extended their lead to as many as 16 midway through the second half, but the Anteaters came storming back with a 23-1 run to take a six-point lead with under four minutes remaining. CSUN closed out the game on a 12-0 surge of its own, however, with Maxwell's 2-of-2 trip to the foul line with 1:33 left giving it the lead for good.
The difference came at the free-throw line, where CSUN shot an outstanding 38- of-43. UCI, meanwhile, was a mere 10-of-23 from the stripe.