For the second consecutive season, CSU Bakersfield experienced a sellout crowd at the Icardo Center for a men’s basketball game after a 26-year drought.
In a game dubbed as “The Battle of the 99,” Tuesday’s highly anticipated matchup against Fresno State produced an attendance of 3,497.
Those in attendance witnessed CSUB defeat Fresno State 71-63.
Prior to last season, the Icardo Center had not had a sellout since the 1993 season when CSUB hosted the Division-II West Regionals.
CSUB senior and kinesiology major Lizeth Carrillo said she was expecting to see a lot of school spirit.
“I wasn’t expecting to see so many people of different age groups. There are students, children and older people here. It’s nice to see so much school spirit,” said Carrillo.
Assistant Athletics Director of Communications Corey Costelloe said he was impressed with the noise-level and atmosphere that was created Tuesday night.
“This [environment] was as good as any on the west coast tonight the way the crowd was into it,” he said. “They were loud, they were supportive, especially when we were on defense. I think that was a huge deal. They were definitely the sixth man tonight.”
CSUB head coach Rod Barnes said he had envisioned an excitement level like this for the program.
“To see this many people out here for the game, and for it to be this early in the season and to sellout, says something about the people here,” Barnes said. “They want a winner here and they deserve it. That’s what we’re trying to give to them. I’m just hoping we can make this an every week deal.”
Redshirt-senior forward Jaylin Airington said that the team definitely fed off the energy of the crowd tonight in a rivalry game.
“The energy in the stands felt great. I definitely wanted to get those guys in my last year playing here. It was a great atmosphere,” said Airington.
Students were painting their faces and bodies as well as engaging in chants and cheers throughout the night.
“To see out students come into the game an hour early to run in to their seats is impressive,” said Costelloe. “We saw that at certain places like Arizona, where their kids were there an hour and a half early. It’s nice to see our students are learning to understand that this is a hot ticket.”
Costelloe said that the marketing team is hoping for three more sellouts this season.
He tabbed the Feb. 9 matchup versus New Mexico State University, the Feb. 25 game against Chicago State University and the March 4 game versus Grand Canyon University as all potential sellouts.
The Roadrunners’ next home game will be on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Icardo Center against Pacific Union College.