GAME NOTES: A streaking Cal State Northridge team tries to move to 7-0 on the season this Saturday, as the Matadors clash with the BYU Cougars in non- conference action at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.
The Matadors are off to their best start since the 1981-82 campaign when they began with nine straight wins, but it is still the best start for the program since it moved to Division I beginning in 1990-91. Considered a top-notch Mid- Major program, CSUN last hit the floor against Northern Kentucky last weekend and claimed a 69-58 victory as part of the NUCDF Challenge in San Diego.
Meanwhile, the Cougars have won three of their first five games, all three coming at home. The program was last in action on Wednesday when it defeated visiting Texas-San Antonio in an 81-62 blowout in order the snap a brief two- game slide.
There have been four previous games in this series, all of them played in Provo and all won by the home team. The most recent meeting took place in 2001 just after Christmas, with the Cougars posting an 84-70 triumph.
Against Northern Kentucky in the most recent outing, the Matadors dialed up the pressure on defense as they held the opposition to just 36.9 percent shooting from the floor and 6-of-24 behind the three-point line, not to mention outscoring NKU by a margin of 22-4 at the charity stripe. Josh Greene and Stephan Hicks both tallied 14 points, the latter also clearing a game-high 10 rebounds, while Allan Guei tacked on 13 points as he nailed down 6-of-9 at the charity stripe. Playing close to the rim at both ends of the floor, Hicks leads the team in both scoring and rebounding after six games with 17.3 points and 8.5 boards per contest. Greene is suffering with a mere 32.7 percent accuracy from the floor, but is still an integral piece of the offense with 14.0 ppg and a team-high 33 assists.
UTSA shouldn't have given the Cougars much trouble at the Marriott Center, especially with such a huge crowd backing the home team, and that was pretty much the case as BYU sprinted away with the 19-poiint win. Brandon Davies erupted for a double-double consisting of 22 points and 10 rebounds, shooting a perfect 8-of-8 at the free-throw line, although he was charged with six of the unit's 18 turnovers as well. Tyler Haws tacked on another 20 points and six boards as the team hit on 51.7 percent from the floor and held the Roadrunners to just 39.3 percent. Playing almost 35 minutes per game, Haws has been dominating the action for the Cougars at the offensive end of the floor with his 21.6 ppg, shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 90.5 percent at the free-throw line. Davies is in for 19.4 ppg and 7.2 rpg to help provide the Cougars with a rebounding edge of more than seven per game at the moment.
Obviously the Matadors are off to a terrific start to the season, but for them to take on Haws and Davies in enemy territory is asking quite a bit of the group in this one.
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