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UCLA men’s basketball loses home-winning streak, falls to Cal State Northridge

Freshman guard Sebastian Mack rises for a jumper against a defender. Mack scored a career-high 27 points against Cal State Northridge Tuesday night. (Brandon Morquecho/Assistant Photo editor)

Men’s Basketball


CSUN76
UCLA72

By Lauryn Olina Wang

Dec. 19, 2023 10:28 p.m.

Dejected fans scaled up the Pauley Pavilion steps.

As the Bruin faithful left in troves, coach Mick Cronin stood stoic on the sidelines with his hands behind his back. 

The Bruins were forced to relinquish their nation’s best 29-game home winning streak to a mid-major squad just up the 405.

UCLA men’s basketball (5-5) dropped a 76-72 decision to Cal State Northridge (8-3) on Tuesday night in Pauley Pavilion, the first time the Bruins have lost at home since January 2022 – and the first time UCLA has succumbed in three consecutive games since March 2021. 

“I thought CSUN was a problem – I knew it, I’ve been watching them for the last month,” Cronin said. “They outplayed us in every facet.” 

Despite freshman guard Sebastian Mack’s career-high 27-point effort – 21 of which came in the second half – the Bruins could not recover from their early offensive woes. UCLA did not score a single field goal for the final 6:36 minutes of the first half and turned the ball over a season-worst 19 times total while posting a 66% clip from the charity stripe. 

“They had fire in their eyes, man they shot the ball pretty good,” said sophomore guard Dylan Andrews. “We knew for a fact that they were a drive-and-kick team, and we were trying to play the gas. But it just didn’t work out the way we wanted it to.”

With 1:35 to play, Andrews squared up on the right wing, drilling his third 3-pointer of the night. The Bruins were down 67-71 before Matadors guard Dionte Bostick – playing with four fouls since the 16:19 mark of the second half – answered with a jumper of his own.

But when sophomore forward/center Adem Bona came up empty on two foul shots and received a whistle of his own on the other end, the blue blood’s fate seemed essentially sealed. 

Andrews found a way to breathe some life into the Bruins after he sank a corner 3-pointer at the 10.1-second mark and drew a shooting foul with 4.3 seconds to play, but his efforts proved futile. 

Foul trouble followed the Matadors for the entirety of the contest but came to a head in the second half.

With 14:27 to play, CSUN forward/center Jasman Sangha garnered the Matadors’ second technical of the night – enough to foul out while three other Matadors had four fouls to their name. After excessive celebration, CSUN forward Keonte Jones logged a technical of his own.

One minute later, Mack drew CSUN’s 10th foul and 25th call on the night, putting the Bruins in double bonus with over half of the second frame to play. But continuous failed conversions from the free-throw line nulled any positive ramifications the opposing foul trouble might have. 

“We’re usually a pretty good free-throw shooting team, we haven’t had many issues this year,” said junior guard Lazar Stefanovic. “But obviously, we probably didn’t come ready to play.” 

Sophomore guard Dylan Andrews prepares to release the ball while defenders surround him. Andrews scored 22 points against the Matadors. (Brandon Morquecho/Assistant Photo editor)

Meanwhile, UCLA’s backcourt was focused on orchestrating the young Bruins on offense. Mack swiftly drove the lane, laying the ball in to bring the Bruins within nine points. Andrews then found an opening for a layup to bring the score to 53-46.

“U-C-L-A” chants subsequently erupted.

Bruin fans were briefly revived. 

With Mack converting 1-of-2 from the charity stripe, the Bruins boasted a 12-2 run to cut the deficit to 53-47. 

UCLA’s signal-caller in Andrews then squared up to launch his second 3-pointer of the night, and a dagger from Mack brought his point total to 20 and put the score at 55-53 with 9:59 to play.

After CSUN sank one beyond the arc, Mack had a swift answer in store with a 3-point play on the other end. Following another CSUN 3-pointer, Stefanovic stared down the basket from the top of the key and paused a beat before swishing the jumper to bring the score to 69-62 near the five-minute mark.

With 2:20 to play and the score standing at 71-64, the Matadors drew out each possession before ultimately netting the win. 

When asked about his first time walking off the home court with a loss in tow, Andrews offered a pithy answer.

“It hurts,” Andrews said. “It brings fire to us.”

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Lauryn Olina Wang | Sports senior staff
Wang is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the women’s basketball, men’s basketball, NIL and football beats. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the women’s basketball, men’s soccer, men’s golf and track and field beats, reporter on the women’s basketball beat and contributor on the men’s and women’s golf beats. Wang is also a fourth-year history major and community engagement and social change minor.
Wang is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the women’s basketball, men’s basketball, NIL and football beats. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the women’s basketball, men’s soccer, men’s golf and track and field beats, reporter on the women’s basketball beat and contributor on the men’s and women’s golf beats. Wang is also a fourth-year history major and community engagement and social change minor.
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