By Peter Castillo
Northern Arizona University picked up its first win of the season against CSU Bakersfield with a 60-52 decision on Saturday night in the Icardo Center.
The Lumberjacks (1-7) shot over 52 percent from the field and forced the Roadrunners (4-5) into 25 turnovers on the night.
NAU closed the game on an 11-3 run.
“I want to give Northern Arizona some credit,” said CSUB Head Coach Rod Barnes. “I thought they hung in there and did some things there late to help them win the game. We looked really tired and fatigued tonight.”
CSUB has now lost three straight games.
Sophomore guard Chris Bowling led all scorers with 17 points while shooting 7-of-11 from the floor.
Saturday’s loss was the first time CSUB had played a home game since its season-opening win over Whittier College on Nov. 10.
“We had a long road trip and I think we just played complacent,” said redshirt-senior Brent Wrapp. “We struggled the whole night. We weren’t ready to go from the jump.”
Wrapp was held scoreless, but he did add five assists and five rebounds.
Senior forward Shon Briggs and senior center Moataz Aly each scored 11 points to lead the Roadrunners. However, the two also committed a combined 14 turnovers in the loss.
Freshman guard Jarkel Joiner was off to a hot start, scoring seven points in the first six minutes of the game. But, the Mississippi native only scored three points the remainder of the game and finished shooting only 4-of-13.
“It’s going to be harder for this team, than the last two teams because a target is on our back,” said Barnes. “We’re younger than we’ve ever been so our focus and our urgency has got to be there.”
CSUB shot only 25 percent (6-of-24) from three-point range and 8-of-14 (57 percent) from the free throw line.
The Roadrunners’ defense forced NAU into 23 turnovers and only 4-of-16 (25 percent) from downtown.
The game was back and forth throughout as there were 10 lead changes and 10 ties.
CSUB led by as many as seven points early in the second half.
Up next for the Roadrunners is a trip up Highway 99 to take on Fresno State on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network.
“We have no time to rest or feel sorry for ourselves,” said Barnes. “We’ve been knowing what kind of schedule we have so we really have to get this team prepared to go up to Fresno.”
CSUB returns home to play a back-to-back starting on Friday, Dec. 8 against Life Pacific University at 11 a.m. The next night, the Roadrunners will take on the University of Idaho at 7 p.m.