CSU Bakersfield men anticipate Grand Canyon test


Photo: Ana Canales

Vincent Perez
Sports Editor

The Roadrunners have lost two consecutive games and if the season were to end today, they would have the sixth seed in the Western Athletic Conference March tournament. A blowout loss at New Mexico State University did not sit well with the team. Neither did a 68-66 heartbreak loss at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

“I feel we did a lot of things that hurt ourselves,” said redshirt-freshman guard Justin Davis. He felt the win was not stolen from them at NMSU. He said, “We definitely dug ourselves a hole.”

Davis said the game plan is just to win in the four remaining WAC games. “[We will] continue to buy in consistently,” said Davis. He said that the team will continue to listen what Head Coach Rod Barnes tells the team.

“It’s been all year for us. We get back in the game and a couple mistakes [happen], not boxing out, or something happens.”

On Feb. 10, at UTRGV, the Roadrunners (10-15, 3-7) lost 68-66 in heart-breaking fashion via a lay up from Vaquero Moe McDonald with 0.7 seconds left. Despite an extraordinary effort from redshirt-junior guard Damiyne Durham, the Roadrunners fell in Edinburg, Texas because of 22 turnovers. Durham scored a career-high 26 points, yet CSUB allowed UTRGV to shoot 77 percent from the field. The home field advantage would also go to the home team in their loss at New Mexico State University.

On Feb. 8, on the Aggies’ home court, the Roadrunners did not get their best shots off. They lost 69-43. The only player in double digits was Durham, with 11. CSUB shot 2-for-21 from the 3-point line. In total, they shot 61 percent. They could not put a stop to the Aggies’ 86 percent (13-of-15).

Barnes addressed the issues in the two losses. “It has a lot to do with our offense. We’ve had some games in the last two weeks which were good,” Barnes said about their two home wins against Chicago State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He said that the most used members of the team need rest. Then, the team will be ready.

“We need these three games. There’s no question about that,” said Barnes.

Barnes said about Durham’s earlier one-game in-team suspension and return to the team, “[He] has an opportunity now … his working is consistent now.” Barnes said that senior forward Shon Briggs’ absence from a foot injury has lit a fire under him. “Damiyne took more responsibility,” said Barnes. He said that Durham is maturing into the player that the coaching staff always knew he was.

Durham was not available upon request for an interview Feb. 13.

The Roadrunners will face Grand Canyon University for the first time this season, in their first home game in two weeks. Davis said that they’re a great team. “We match up well with them. It’ll be a great game to play,” said Davis about the fourth-place WAC team.

The Roadrunners return to the Icardo Center this week, when they take on GCU (17-9, 6-4), on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. The match-up will be the WAC Game of the Week, and is the Golden Game and Vegas Night.

Barnes said about Briggs’ return from injury, “Hopefully he can make the [WAC] tournament.” He added that there’s a possibility that the team will be without Briggs for the rest of the season. Briggs underwent successful foot surgery as of Feb. 8.