By Josh Bennett
Assistant Sports Editor
The ’Runners men’s basketball team fell to the New Mexico State University Aggies 72-57, Saturday at Rabobank Arena.
It was Senior Night, as it was the final home game for six players on the team.
Senior guard Issiah Grayson, redshirt junior guard Brandon Barnes, and senior forward Corey Hall each scored 10 points in the loss.
The graduating seniors for the ’Runners are Grayson, Hall, Barnes, forward Stephon Johnson, guard Zach Lamb and guard Matt Ratto.
“It’s kind of emotional, actually,” Barnes said when asked about his feelings for Senior Night.
“I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal.”
In the case of Barnes, he is currently fighting to regain one more year of eligibility.
While the status of that motion is still unknown, it is not yet dead in the water.
“We’ve been talking about it all week and we’ve been saying that it’s not that big of a deal, but once we walked into the gym, we [realized] that this was our last game at CSUB,” Lamb said. “I’m going to miss it.”
New Mexico State had only seven players dressed for the game in the wake of the post-game brawl at Utah Valley that caught national attention.
Two players were suspended from this game for the Aggies.
In spite of having several suspended players, the ’Runners (12-17, 5-10 WAC) were stuffed in the paint by the Aggies, especially by 7’5” sophomore center Sim Bhullar, who had 13 points and 12 rebounds and redshirt-junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe, who had 15 points and 16 rebounds. Both also combined for 9 blocks.
The ’Runners were forced to shoot longer shots, and that ended up costing the team in the end.
New Mexico State scored 46 of their 72 points in the paint and shot 51 percent from the field. CSUB only scored 24 of their 57 points from in the paint and shot 31.8 percent from the field.
After a quick 8-2 start five minutes into the game the Aggies dominated with a 19-2 run.
During that run, CSUB suffered from a six and a half minute scoring drought.
“When you miss shots and they’re getting rebounds, you can’t get out on the break. It’s their kind of game,” Head Coach Rod Barnes said.
The ’Runners will have their final regular season game Saturday at Utah Valley then will prepare for the WAC tournament beginning on March 13 in Las Vegas.