OREM A late lack of focus cost Utah Valley State after it led for most of the game in its loss to Cal State Northridge 73-65 on Friday night.
Despite freshman guard Kevin Woods scoring a career-high 15 points, the Wolverines (5-9) didn't have an answer to the Matadors' tenacity in coming back.
"We had some breakdowns in the second half that were costly," said UVSC coach Dick Hunsaker. "They had a little better offensive rhythm."
UVSC had a chance to get back within one with under 30 seconds left. But Jordan Brady was called for a technical for arguing a non-call after he was hit on a shot hard enough to draw a stream of blood down his face. The Matadors (8-3) hit the next three foul shots to go up by six in holding off the Wolverines.
Deon Tresvant sank two free throws that gave Cal State Northridge a lead that it did not relinquish with 3:17 left.
The Matadors' aggressiveness was a little surprising late as two starters Jayme Miller and Calvin Chitwood both fouled out.
Neither team shot well as Cal State Northridge shot 39.7 percent from the field and the Wolverines hit 38.5 percent of their shots. The game hinged on points in the paint as the Matadors beat the UVSC 42-28 in the battle down low.
Leading the team in scoring along with Ryan Toolson would generally make most players happy. But Woods knew that the final result nullifies any joy his performance could bring.
"I'd rather have the win than 15 points," Woods said.
All of Woods' offense can be attributed to UVSC trying to spread the load among more players than just Brady and Toolson.
"Coach had put in some new plays the day before to get me more active in the game," Woods said. "My game is to spread the court."
Hunsaker said that Woods is improving every day, but still needs some work.
"He did a nice job as a freshman," Hunsaker said, "in getting better game in and game out, and in practice."
"He's still lacking in leading the team, but plays on the court," Hunsaker added. "It's very unfortunate that his play tonight ended up on the short end of the stick."
Miller and Tremaine Townsend led the Matadors with 12 points apiece.
Runs of 11-0 early on and 8-2 midway through the first half helped give the Wolverines a 28-24 halftime lead. The Matadors kept the score close and chipped away at Utah Valley State's lead.