Roadrunners claim first regular season WAC title


The Roadrunners defeated Chicago State University to clinch their first outright regular season WAC title in program history. Photo by Peter Castillo/The Runner

Peter Castillo

Sports Editor


On a night where the homecoming king and queen were crowned at halftime, the CSU Bakersfield men’s basketball team was crowned as regular season champions of the Western Athletic Conference with a 69-49 win over Chicago State University.

“I challenged this team, and that’s why I’m so proud of them,” said coach Rod Barnes. “The team needs to know that this is something special, but it’s not the end.”

It is the first outright regular season title in Division I in program history.

“It’s a special [feeling] to be the first, to make history together”, said redshirt-senior forward Jaylin Airington. “I’m grateful and thankful to be in this situation and to have this opportunity.”

CSUB (21-7, 12-1 WAC) limited Chicago State (6-24, 1-12 WAC) to only 18 percent shooting in the first half and went into the break with a 35-13 lead.

The Roadrunners were led by redshirt-sophomore guard Damiyne Durham as he put up 18 points on 4 of 10 shooting from three-point range. He also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

“Coming off the bench, I feel like my job is to produce as much as I can for the team,” said Durham. “I always take the shots, I’m just grateful that they went in tonight.”

CSUB was able to force Chicago State to turn the ball over 19 times in the game. This, paired with 13 blocked shots allowed the Roadrunners to get out on fast breaks all game.

Senior guard Dedrick Basile scored 16 points in the win.

Airington was the only other Roadrunner to score in double figures as he added 14 points.

CSUB scored 14 points off of fast breaks while Chicago State did not have single bucket off a fast break.

The Roadrunners will now be the number one seed in the WAC Tournament when it begins on Thursday, March 9.

CSUB won the tournament last season as the number 2 seed when they defeated New Mexico State University in the championship game.

“This is one of best teams that I have ever coached, in the sense of guys sharing, working with each other and sacrificing for the whole,” said coach Rod Barnes. “I feel honored to be a part of this.”

The Roadrunners are scheduled to conclude their regular season on Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Icardo Center when they take on Grand Canyon University on Senior Night.

Redshirt-sophomore guard Daminye Durham leaps past a Chicago State defender for a layup on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Icardo Center. Durham led all scorers with 18 points.