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Late UCI Heroics Send Mats to 4th Straight Defeat

Matador Hoops Exclusive!!! Follow Matagrad's (David Stock) insightful coverage the whole season. No one knows Northridge hoops better than Matagrad.

02/14/2002-It was still light outside when the CS Northridge-UCI game began, but by the final 2 minutes, it appeared the Mats were going to pull out a victory under circumstances suggesting a full moon. Consider: Markus Carr, the hero of the initial meeting with 31 pts, was held to just 1FG all night. In fact, his 2 FT at 9:41 were his only pts of the entire 1st half. The hosts thus had to turn to an unlikely source-Curtis Slaughter-for point-production. Slaughter, ice-cold in the previous 3 games, exploded out of the gate with 14 1st half points, including 4-5 3pters. He ended up with a career-high 20 pts. Finally, Coach Braswell often had 6'4" Lionel Benjamin on UCI's 7ft Adam Parada. With a host of others such as Jermar Welch and Chris Davis helping out, Northridge continually forced turnovers off passes into the post, and held Parada to 4 1st half points. Despite all the strange goings on, normalcy finally prevailed when Mr Clutch, aka Jerry Green, came through under pressure as he has so often done in the past, by scoring 6 of his team's final 9 pts to lead the Anteaters to an 82-80 win tonight at the Matadome before 1,509. Northridge fell behind 26-17 a little more than mid way through the 1st half, but a FG by Davis and a 3 by Ian Boylan narrowed the deficit to 4. Slaughter then connected on back-to-back bombs from beyond the arc, giving the 'Dors their 1st lead at 28-26, and bringing the crowd to its feet. They soon stretched it to a high of 37-32 on a pair of FT by Benjamin, and settled for a 41-38 halftime lead. Oddly, tonight was the 3rd straight time during the losing streak that Northridge carried a lead into the locker room. It seemed as though Irvine had things under control when Parada sank 2 FT 7 min. into the 2nd half to give his team a 60-52 lead. But Northridge roared back with an 18-6 run to take the lead. Slaughter scored at the 8:35 mark for his 1st pts of the half, then scored again to give his team a lead which quickly grew to 4 on a Gene Myvett basket. After Irvine fought back to take the lead, they appeared to encounter trouble with 4:11 remaining when Parada picked up his 4th foul. And after a Boylan pass was deflected to Benjamin, who converted a basket and FT on the play, and Dan Read and Slaughter followed with 3 FT's, the Mat's were seemingly in control with a 76-71 lead. But it wasn't to be, in part because Carr was unable to perform at the level he did Jan 19. Two FT by Parada, followed by a Carr turnover, gave Green center stage, and he delivered. He sank a 3pt shot to tie things up. Carr then committed a charging foul with 1:34 remaining, and this time it was Mike Hood's turn to connect from long-range for the last of his 17pts, making the score 79-76. Welch followed a Carr miss with a put-back to trim the deficit to one, and when UCI threw away the inbounds pass, Hood fouled out on the play and sent Carr to the line. Markus made the last of his 7 2nd half FT to give his team its final lead at 80-79, but a late basket by Green gave his team the lead for good. Carr misfired again with 7 seconds remaining, and the ensuing held ball went to UCI with 3.2 seconds left. Green was then fouled, and missed the 1st of 2 FT. After a time out, Boylan gathered in the in-bounds pass near mid court, turned into traffic, and was whistled for traveling. A key to the game was Irvine's ability to find Parada in the 2nd half, when he tallied 13 of his 17 pts. A large number of thir 13 first half turnovers came on errant passes into the post. They also has much more success getting to the FT line in the 2nd half, when Parada and Jordan Harris combined to score 12 pts from the charity stripe. The entire team only shot 7 1st half FT, to 14 for Northridge. So how was Northridge able to score 80 pts, their 3rd highest total vs Div 1 opposition this season, despite Carr's struggles? Basically, because Slaughter shot UCI out of the zone they were employing, and the 'Eaters lacked the quickness to cover Northridge man-to-man. Benjamin was an especially difficult matchup, and finished with a career-high 16 pts. Northridge also had one of its best 3pt shooting efforts of the season, hitting 7-17. They made 5-9 in the last meeting between the 2 schools. And there is the suspicion that the Anteaters hope they don't meet up again in the BWC Tournament next month.

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