CSUB gears up for matchup against New Mexico State

CSUB+fans+cheer+on+the+Roadrunners+during+the+game+against+New+Mexico+State+on+Jan.+23+in+the+Icardo+Center.%0APhoto+by+AJ+Alvarado%2FThe+Runner

CSUB fans cheer on the Roadrunners during the game against New Mexico State on Jan. 23 in the Icardo Center. Photo by AJ Alvarado/The Runner

Joe Macias

Senior Staff Writer

 

In its most anticipated game of the season, the CSU Bakersfield men’s basketball team gears up to play New Mexico State University on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Icardo Center in a battle for first place in the Western Athletic Conference.

The CSUB athletics program has anticipated the game to be its third sellout of the season. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3, as it will be a part of the WAC “Game of the Week.”

“It’s another opportunity to get better, that’s how we look at it,” said CSUB head coach Rod Barnes.

NMSU (22-2, 8-0 WAC) is coming into the game on a 20-game win streak and have not lost a conference game this season.

Junior guard Dedrick Basile goes for a shot against New Mexico State.
Photo by AJ Alvarado/The Runner

“(NMSU) has a good team,” said Barnes. “You got to give their coach credit [and] their players [credit]. I think they’ve won 20 games or more now in a row and that’s a pretty special season that they’re having.”

Over the past few years, one of the things Barnes wanted to do for the CSUB men’s basketball program was build the fan and attendance status to where they could sell out nearly every game and they are getting close to that point.

“Coming in my first year it was not packed like that, but we’ve built the team around just like that…the crowd wants to see winners so we’ve been winning and it’s great they’re coming out,” said CSUB redshirt-senior forward Jaylin Airington.

The last time the Aggies lost against a conference opponent was against the Roadrunners in the WAC Men’s Basketball Tournament when CSUB beat NMSU 57-54.

In their previous matchup, NMSU was able to pull out the win against CSUB 63-58 in Las Cruces, New Mexico, but the Roadrunners are hoping to get back at them and end the Aggies hot-streak.

“It’s going to be a good game,” said redshirt-junior guard Brent Wrapp. “We’ve had a lot of close games with [NMSU] over the last season or two so it’s going to be a really good game. It’s going to be a good crowd and it’s just an exciting time for us.”

Although the Roadrunners hope to win the game, Wrapp said it is not more important than any other game.

“Regardless of who wins on Thursday it doesn’t affect who’s going to the NCAA tournament and that’s our end goal,” said Wrapp. “We want to be regular season [champions], but we also want to win the WAC tournament and that doesn’t happen until March. We just got to keep getting better every single week and just keep improving. It’s a big game for the regular season, but not for our overall [season].”

The Aggies are averaging 78.9 points per game, which is the second most in the conference, while the Roadrunners are allowing the fewest points per game in the WAC at 64.1.

CSUB (15-7, 6-1 WAC) has never beat NMSU in the regular season in school history. The Roadrunners are holding on to an 8-0 record at home this season. The last and only time CSUB was able to beat the Aggies was in the 2016 WAC Tournament Championship game that came off a game-winning shot by senior guard Dedrick Basile.