California State University, Northridge men’s basketball had five score in double figures as the Matadors won their sixth in a row with an 84-68 triumph at Long Beach State on Saturday afternoon at Walter Pyramid. Dionte Bostick led all scorers with 21 points to go with five rebounds and four assists while Keonte Jones posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. CSUN would hold the highest scoring team in The Big West to 12 points below its season scoring average and to 36 percent shooting on the day.
The Matadors’ six-game winning streak is the program’s best since the 2012-13 season.
The first half featured 13 lead changes as well as 11 ties. CSUN led 6-2 early on before the Beach went on an 8-2 run of their own to take the lead. The Matadors’ biggest deficit in the first half would be 15-11 before a 7-2 spurt capped by a Gianni Hunt triple put CSUN back on top.
After the Beach retook the lead at 23-20, Dionte Bostick scored the next five in a row. Still though, neither team could gain separation until the closing moments of the half. Long Beach State held a 37-35 lead with 3:16 left before halftime before the Matadors went on an 8-0 run to end the period. Mahmoud Fofana would complete a three-point play then Keonte Jones scored a late basket as CSUN took a 43-37 lead into intermission.
Bostick and Jones opened the second half with baskets to give CSUN its first double-digit lead at 47-37. After the Beach rallied to within six, Jordan Brinson knocked down a three at the 17:14 mark. Brinson’s triple sparked a CSUN 11-0 run, closed by a Bostick basket in transition for a 59-43 lead.
Bostick drained another Matador three at the 14:46 mark, giving CSUN its biggest lead at 62-45. The Beach would battle back to within 12 on four separate occasions, but the Matadors had an answer each time. A De’Sean Allen-Eikens field goal followed by a steal leading to a Fofana basket quickly pushed the lead back to 16 at the 10:27 mark. The Beach made one final push with over three minutes to play, cutting the deficit to 76-64, but CSUN scored eight points down the stretch, highlighted by a late dunk from Jones to maintain its lead.
NOTES ON THE GAME
– CSUN improves to 11-3 on the season with a 2-0 mark in Big West play. Long Beach State falls to 9-5 overall and 1-1 in Big West action.
– The Matadors shot 48.4 percent from the field while they finished 7-of-21 from three (33.3 percent) and 17-of-25 from the free throw line (68.0 percent). On the flip side, the Beach were held to 36.4 percent shooting to go with going 2-of-22 at the 3-point line and 18-of-25 from the free throw line (72.0 percent).
– CSUN out-rebounded Long Beach State 43-33. The Matadors also led in assists 24-10.
– De’Sean Allen-Eikens also scored in double figures with 14 to go with seven rebounds while Mahmoud Fofana had 11 points and six rebounds and Jordan Brinson posted 10 points and seven rebounds. Gianni Hunt added seven assists and six points.
– Keonte Jones recorded his third double-double of the season while he registered his second-straight double-digit rebounding game.
“We played such good defense,” said head coach Andy Newman. “It was so much fun to watch. Honestly, second half we really turned it. When we play defense like that, we’ll be hard to beat. It’s kind of what we do. We’re built for toughness. Coach Monson’s teams are really tough and physical, and we knew that coming into it, but you know what, our team is really tough and physical. We were the tougher team today and we deserved it. These guys are playing their absolute butts off, and it’s really fun to be a part of.”
CSUN returns home for its Big West home opener on Saturday, Jan. 6 against Hawai’i at 5 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.