By Peter Castillo
The CSU Bakersfield men’s basketball team opened its season with an 88-66 win over Whittier College on Friday, Nov. 10 at the Icardo Center.
Prior to the game, a ring ceremony was held for the 2017 regular season Western Athletic Conference championship. Also, a new banner was unveiled on the east wall of the Icardo Center.
The Roadrunners (1-0) trailed right out of the gate and for most of the first half, as Whittier hit four of their first nine attempts from three-point range.
“We have to give them some credit,” said CSUB Head Coach Road Barnes. “They came out early and shot the ball well and put us in a tough situation early.”
But, with just over eight minutes before the end of the first half, CSUB went on a 29-12 run to close the half.
The Roadrunners used a 24-9 spurt to start the second half to put the game out of reach.
Freshman guard Jarkel Joiner led all scorers with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting. He also grabbed six rebounds in his first collegiate game.
“I thought after the first 10 minutes, we got the game under control,” said Barnes. “We started the push and started to play the way I think we’re capable of playing at the end of the first half. I think the second we did what we needed to do to separate.”
During a sequence with just over 17 minutes left to play, redshirt-senior guard Brent Wrapp led a fast break and found senior center Moataz Aly for a thunderous alley-oop.
The very next play, Joiner stole the ball in the backcourt and went in score with a two-handed layup.
Following the score, Whittier junior guard Jacob Aruta pushed the ball up floor and into the paint for a layup attempt. However, Aly was there to swat the shot away.
“I was going hard out there every time I got the ball,” said Aly. “I set the pace for myself out there to get right.”
Aly finished the night 15 points, six boards and four blocked shots despite not starting.
The Roadrunners led by as many as 31 at one point.
Wrapp, who was nursing a foot injury during the preseason, played 22 minutes and added nine points, six assists and three steals while shooting a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line.
However, Wrapp was not happy with the sloppy play by CSUB throughout the night. He showed visible frustration at times.
“We still have to defend and rebound and we didn’t really do that tonight,” said Wrapp. “There’s a lot of things we need to work on, 15 assists and 16 turnovers (as a team) is terrible.”
Senior forward Shon Briggs finished with 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
The Roadrunners shot 21-of-26 from the free throw line, while Whittier only shot 1-of-4 from the stripe.
CSUB is scheduled to hit the road next as the Roadrunners will travel to Statesboro, Ga. to take on Georgia Southern University on Monday, Nov. 13 at 4:30 p.m.