NORTHRIDGE – CSUN Men’s Basketball (8-10, 2-0 BWC) returns home on Thursday to host Hawai’i in its Big West home opener at 7:00 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN3 while Ghizal Hasan and Alan Zinsmeister are on the call in an audio broadcast on the CSUN Sports Network presented by Dignity Health.
The Matadors defeated Cal Poly in an overtime thriller on Saturday to win their second-straight road game. The team is 2-0 to start Big West Conference play for the fourth time since joining the league in 2001-02 and for the second time over the last three seasons. This season’s 2-0 start is the just second in team history where the Matadors have won both games on the road (2007-08 season).
In a game of runs, the Matadors raced out to a 20-point first-half lead only to see Cal Poly come all the way back to take a 10-point lead in the season half. CSUN eventually fought back, sending the game to overtime. Playing their second OT game over the last three contests, the Matadors would get a clutch 3-pointer from freshman Darius Brown II late to beat the Mustangs 78-74.
Sophomore Terrell Gomez scored 23 points to lead the Matadors past Cal Poly while freshman Lamine Diane added 20 points and 15 rebounds. Freshmen Michael Ou scored a career-high 12 points and Rodney Henderson Jr. chipped in with 12 points and seven rebounds. Leading the Big West in assists per game (5.3), Brown posted a career-best 11 assists.
After averaging 27.5 points per game last week, Gomez was named Big West Player of the Week for the first time in his career on Monday. Gomez shot 57.6 percent from the field including 58.8 percent from 3-point range (10-of-17) in two victories. The 5-foot-8 guard scored 19 of his career-best 32 points in the second half to help spark a comeback win at UC Riverside last Wednesday. His 23 points against Cal Poly gave Gomez a total of 10 20-point performances this season. Gomez is 10th in the nation in 3-point field goals (63) while he is second in the Big West in points per game (19.4).
Diane heads into this week’s games still ranked among the nation’s best in scoring and rebounding. He is seventh in the country in rebounds per game (11.1) while he sits in eighth place in points per game (23.9). Diane is also third in field goals made (165), 10th in double-doubles (10) and 19th in blocked shots per game (2.4). Aside from Diane, one other player in the nation is averaging above 23 points and 10 rebounds this season (Mike Daum-South Dakota State). Among freshmen, Diane is ranked first in rebounds per game while he is second in points per game.
The Matadors trail the all-time series to Hawai’i 15-5 but they snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 77-71 win in Honolulu last February. Gomez scored 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the victory over the Rainbow Warriors. At The Matadome last season, Hawai’i held CSUN to a season-low in points in a 65-46 decision. The Matadors look to snap a four-game losing streak at The Matadome in the series.
A Closer Look at Hawai’i
The Rainbow Warriors are 10-5 this season and 1-0 in Big West play. Hawai’i beat Cal State Fullerton, 79-68, in its conference opener in Honolulu last Wednesday. During non-conference play, Hawai’i defeated Pac-12 teams, Utah (90-79) and Colorado (70-62). Head coach Eran Ganot is in his fourth season at Hawai’i.
Junior Eddie Stansberry leads the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game followed by senior Jack Purchase at 11.0 points, junior Zigmars Raimo at 10.7 points and senior Brocke Stepteau at 10.3 points. Raimo is averaging 6.7 rebounds per game while Purchase is grabbing 6.6 boards. Sophomore Drew Buggs is second in the Big West in assists per game with 5.0. Hawai’i is ranked second in the conference in 3-point field goals made per game (8.7) while its also ranked second in opponent 3-point percentage (30.3).