By Johnathan Wheatley
Assistant Sports Editor
In a matchup of last year’s Western Athletic Conference championship, CSU Bakersfield dropped its third straight to open conference play with a 66-53 loss against New Mexico State University on Saturday, Jan. 13 at the Icardo Center.
The Roadrunners (7-11, 0-3 WAC) came into its game against the Aggies (15-3, 3-0) on a 4-game losing streak and a 0-2 start to conference play.
The game had the similar storyline as of recently, with the Roadrunners competing in the first half and being blown out in the second half.
“I was proud, I thought the game was played the way it needed to be played,” said CSUB Head Coach Rod Barnes.
CSUB opened the scoring with an alley-oop dunk by senior center Moataz Aly. Aly finished the game with seven points before fouling out in the second half.
Junior guard Ricky Holden followed the dunk with a three-pointer and CSUB held a 5-0 lead to open the game. Holden added six points and two rebounds to the Roadrunners’ total.
New Mexico State took its first lead of the game at 6-5, but it would be short lived as the Roadrunners went on a 7-0 run and took a 12-6 lead.
CSUB held the lead over 15 minutes in the first half, but with 1:40 remaining in the first half, the Aggies re-took the lead and went into halftime ahead of the Roadrunners 26-25.
The second half once again got away from the Roadrunners.
It began with CSUB pulling ahead of the Aggies after a three-pointer by Holden put the Roadrunners up 32-30.
A free throw shot by senior forward Shon Briggs gave the Roadrunners a 33-30 lead. Briggs added 3 points and 4 rebounds.
CSUB went scoreless for the next 6:10 of the game.
In that time, New Mexico State went on a 14-0 run to go ahead 44-33. The Aggies did not look back and lead the rest of the game.
A three-pointer by freshman guard Jarkel Joiner shrunk the Aggies lead to 11, but that is the closest the Roadrunners would get to regaining the lead. Joiner finished with five points and two steals.
“Tonight we played more like us, we played better defense,” said senior guard Brett Wrapp on tonight’s game. Wrapp tallied eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
“We have to get wins, we keep saying we are taking steps but we have to take those steps into a win” said redshirt freshman forward Justin Davis on the upcoming road trip.
Davis added 10 points and eight rebounds.
CSUB will go on a three-game road trip that begins against the University of Missouri-Kansas City (5-14, 0-3 WAC) on Thursday, Jan. 18.. Its next home game will be Thursday, Feb. 1 against Chicago State University (2-18, 0-3 WAC).