LOS ANGELES – For the second time this season the CSU Bakersfield men’s basketball team, had a late second-half lead on the road over a Power Five conference team and for the second time this season, it slipped away.
The University of Southern California defeated CSUB 90-75 behind a 32-10 run over the last 11 and-a-half minutes.
“I thought we played hard. I thought we defended,” said head coach Rod Barnes. “We played together, but we were playing against a better team.”
The Roadrunners also had a late lead on the road over Texas Christian University, who was ranked No. 20 at the time, in a loss on Nov. 7.
The Trojans had four players who scored in double figures and were led by sophomore Jordan Usher who scored 22 points off the bench.
The Roadrunners second half lead disappeared after both senior James Suber and redshirt-sophomore Greg Lee each picked up their fourth fouls of the game.
Suber, who played a career-high 25 minutes, grabbed nine rebounds and helped defend the paint against USC’s bigger frontcourt.
USC’s front line featured senior Bennie Boatwright and junior Nick Rakocevic who are listed at 6 foot 11 inches and 6 foot 10 inches, respectively.
Boatwright finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists and was three-of-six from deep, while Rakocevic added 11 points, eight boards, four assists and four blocks.
“Things changed a lot [when Suber and Lee left the game],” said Suber. “Defensively and intensity-wise things went down a little bit.”
CSUB was led by redshirt-senior Damiyne Durham who scored 22 points of his own off the bench and added six rebounds.
“We just lost focus,” said Durham about the loss. “It’s been our biggest problem late in the games, closing out games.”
Lee chipped in with 12 points and seven boards, while senior Rickey Holden added 10 points and four assists.
After trailing by as many as nine in the first half, the Roadrunners battled back and led 46-44 at halftime thanks to shooting 6-of-9 from 3-point range.
CSUB continued its hot shooting in the second half, building a 65-58 lead before USC went on its run to close out the game.
USC was able to take advantage at the foul line, converting 22-of-34 (64.7 percent) attempts, while CSUB was only 11-of-22 from the stripe.
The Roadrunners are now 0-2 all-time against USC, after dropping a 63-59 decision on Dec. 15, 2013.
Up next, CSUB will travel to take on the University of South Dakota on Saturday, Dec 1 at 1:30 p.m.
The Roadrunners will return home on Tuesday, Dec. 4 to take on UC Merced at 7 p.m. in the Icardo Center.
Photos courtesy of Robby Sanchez
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