By Peter Castillo
In its final tune-up before regular season action begins, the CSU Bakersfield men’s basketball team defeated Biola University 84-64 in an exhibition game at the Icardo Center on Saturday, Nov. 4.
On Monday, Oct. 30, The Roadrunners went on the road and defeated Long Beach State 63-55 in a charity exhibition game that benefitted the victims of the wildfires in Northern California.
CSUB led wire-to-wire on Saturday, but Head Coach Rod Barnes admitted that the team could look much sharper.
“I was really pleased with a lot of our guys,” said Barnes. “Some of them didn’t play as well as they’re capable of, but that’s going to happen early on. We’re young and inexperienced, but we’re learning.”
The Roadrunners’ defense, a trademark strength of Barnes coached teams, forced Biola into 21 turnovers on the night.
Biola hung around in the first half, however, due to shooting 16-of-17 from the free throw line.
CSUB pulled away in the second half, thanks to a 10-0 run that helped extend its lead to 25 at one point.
Redshirt-junior guard Damiyne Durham led all scorers with 18 points, as he shot 6-for-13 from three-point range.
Late in the first half, Durham picked up a technical foul after he knocked down a three and began to shout at a Biola defender. Durham was benched for the remainder of the half, but started the second half on the floor.
Rickey Holden, a junior guard who transferred from Jones Community College in Mississippi, started and chipped in with 16 points and five assists.
“I feel like the crowd was good and we played good out there tonight, we just got to pick up some stuff on defense and we’ll be alright,” said Holden.
Freshman guard Jarkel Joiner scored 13 points and shot 3-of-6 from deep in his first action at the Icardo Center.
Bakersfield native and freshman guard Justin McCall added 10 points, including a pair of high-flying dunks.
Despite having a noticeable height advantage, CSUB only out-rebounded Biola 34-33.
“We didn’t pursue the ball well tonight,” said Barnes. “I think part of it was lackadaisicalness on our part, because we have a size advantage, but we can’t take anybody for granted.”
Redshirt-senior guard Brent Wrapp, who has been nursing a foot injury, started and played only 12 minutes. However, Wrapp said that he will be ready to play in time for the regular season.
“Tonight, I just wanted to get out there and get used to the game again,” said Wrapp. “I didn’t play against Long Beach, so it was good to get some minutes in, but I’m just going to keep progressing with it.”
The Roadrunners will open up the regular season at home on Friday, Nov. 10 against Whittier College at 7 p.m.
Prior to the game, there will be a ceremony celebrating last season’s Western Athletic Conference regular season title. The players and coaches will be presented with championship rings and a banner will be unveiled.