Reggie Theus Jr is not his father, but against Morgan State, the son of the former NBA all-star showed what his dad and current coach has taught him since he was a child.
Theus Jr. had a career-high 16 points on 7 of 10 shooting and CSUN defeated Morgan State 79-69. It was the Matadors second consecutive win and the first against a Division I opponent this season.
“I thought he did great tonight,” Theus said of his son’s performance. “I did get mad because of the fact that he only had one rebound, but he was scoring and he was being aggressive.”
The Matadors (3-11) played its best game defensively this season holding Morgan State to only 36.9 percent from the field.
“The energy level defensively was really great,” Theus said. “Our defensive effort and sustainability was solid. When they made runs, we didn’t let up. When that happens and you’re going to the rim as much as we were, then you’re no longer chasing your shooting percentage.”
Morgan State guard Tiwian Kendley scored 27 points and shot 8 of 16 from the field but played limited minutes in the first half after receiving three fouls.
CSUN never trailed and an offense that was in constant attack mode. It’s a stark contrast for a team who just a week ago was struggling to find its identity. Tavrion Dawson scored 20 points with nine rebounds and the Matadors had four players in double figures. Micheal Warren had 15 points and Lyrik Shreiner added 10.
“We have changed the way we play and now we are going inside every time down court now” Theus said. “We aren’t going to necessarily shoot it every time but we are going to play from the inside out.”
The change in offensive approach proved to be key in limiting Morgan Stateleading scorer Tiwian Kendley. Kendley scored 27 points and shot 8 of 16 from the field but played limited minutes in the first half after receiving three fouls.
“Our guys attacked constantly,” Theus said. “Lyrik (Shreiner), Mike (Warren) and (Jonathan) Guevara did a fantastic job on their best player. Even though he got 27 points they made it tough for him.”
It was a welcomed sight for Dawson who carried a lighter load on Saturday after scoring 33 points in previous game against San Diego Christian.
“That’s what we need more of is just to keep that attack balanced,” Dawson said. “Other teams don’t know where we are going to attack from. That’s what happens in our offense now is it allows guys to operate to their strengths.”
Warren had fun at the expense of Morgan State (4-9) after hitting a fall away corner three pointer that almost put him in the lap of his team’s bench.
“What can you say? When you’re hot you’re hot,” Dawson said. “Mikey is starting to feel himself and he’s been shooting the ball very well in the past couple of games.”
CSUN will have a week’s rest before starting Big West Conference play next week at home against Hawai’i on Jan. 6.