This was by far one of the most anticipated games this year and even this season. The number 1 team, Long Beach State, traveled to the Matadome to play the number 2 team, Cal State Northridge. I arrived 2 hours early, and there was already people starting to line up at the doors to get a good seat. I have never seen the Matadome so full before. There was barely any standing room left by the time tip off happened. Going into this game, I anticipated it to be close – but I didn’t realize what would happen. With about 6 minutes left in the first half, CSUN had 11 and LBSU had 19. It was one of the lowest scoring games I had seen – especially considering it was #1 vs #2. Both teams were not playing at their full potential. They were missing shots left and right..rebounds going back and forth…turnovers and bad passes. CSUN’s Lenny Daniels had a big dunk and Rashaun McLemore had hit some good shots. For the most part, both teams were really off with their shooting. LBSU’s Greg Plater started to turn on with his shooting and was getting lots of unaswered points quickly. Although the game was close, it went into halftime with LBSU leading 32-27 over CSUN. With a lot of the same patterns from the first half carrying over to the second half, it was a struggle for the teams to get their grove going with shooting. Casper Ware came even more alive in the second half, and was nearly unstoppable. CSUN and LBSU were staying head to head, with the lead going in both directions. Once Casper started to really get shots off, the gap began to grow and LSBU remained in the lead towards the end of the 2nd half. LBSU won the game 79-62. The score is misleading because it was a very close game through the majority of it. It was a good game and both teams had good plays, but I think its safe to say that neither team played to their best potential. CSUN struggled at the 3 point line with shooting 5-20 at 20%, while Long Beach had 16 turnovers as a downside. The game could have gone either way, but Casper at the end created the gap that eventually led to the win. LBSU remains in first place, while CSUN drops down to 3rd place. The team separating both of them is Cal Poly SLO who has 2nd place. The leading scoreres for LBSU were Casper Ware with 22 and Larry Anderson with 17. Leading scorers for CSUN were Rashaun McLemore with 15, Josh Greene with 12, and Michael Lizarraga had 11 points and a double-double.
I realize that people are speculating already who is the best team in our conference. Even during the post game interview, the CSUN players were asked if they agreed that LBSU was the best team in our conference. Considering CSUN went from a slow season start to going all the way up to 2nd place, I would hardly say its fair to determine who is the best team. Not every game is going to be a win. Not every game will be a blow out. I think there are many talented players in this conference, and because of that, it makes it more exciting to see the outcome once playoffs come. Anything can happen 🙂
Below are the highlights from the game. There is a short version and extended version.