‘Runners fall to Lopes, despite sellout crowd.

: Chris Burdick

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Photo by: Chris Burdick

Assistant Sports Editor

With a crowd of 3515 in attendance Saturday February 2nd, the Icardo Center was buzzing with excitement for the matchup between the Cal State University Bakersfield Roadrunners and the Grand Canyon University Lopes.

CSUB and GCU both came into this game as part of a three-way tie for first place in the Western Athletic Conference.

The Roadrunners got off to a hot start, recording an 8-0 run to begin the game thanks to 2 quick 3-point baskets from Sophomore Guard Jarkel Joiner. Before the Lopes were able to storm back and tie the game at 12-12.

Strong defensive play from both sides kept the game close through the first half of play. CSUB was able to create 12 points off of 9 GCU turnovers including a few easy breakaway baskets from Joiner and redshirt Sophomore Forward Taze Moore. Grand Canyon University was able to edge a slight lead with the score of 32-30 at the end of the first half.

The struggles for the Roadrunners began in the second half. CSUB struggled to get any shots to fall, shooting 33% from the field in the second half and were only able to connect on 2 of their 11 shots from beyond the arc.

Their struggles followed them to the free-throw line as well, as the Roadrunners were only able to hit 3-8 from the line, bringing their total free-throw percentage down to 42% for the game. Leading to the Roadrunners falling to the Lopes 72-59.

“Got to give them some credit, they are one of the better defensive teams in the country.” Said CSUB head coach Rod Barnes. “It doesn’t matter how big you are, if you’re a good defensive team, you’re a good defensive team. They had good rotation. Got a lot of older guys out there with experience. So, they understand how to make the right rotations and know how to edge screens.”

Sophomore Guard Jarkel Joiner led the way for CSUB, recording 27 points on 50% shooting from the field, and was able to come away with 3 steals on the defensive side of the ball as well.

“That loss, it hurts now, but we’re going to bounce back.” said Jarkel Joiner. “just got to come back to the gym, do what we need to, work hard, and be ready for the next one.”

Redshirt Sophomore Forward Greg Lee also contributed a solid performance with 16 points and 7 rebounds shooting 2-5 from beyond the 3-point line.

“I think we let them off the hook, we took too many jump shots instead of taking it to the basket.” Greg Lee said after the game “At the end of the day, (the loss) is frustrating but we have to move forward, bounce back and get to work.”

This loss marks the first home loss from the Roadrunners this season, bringing them to a record of 9-1 at home for the year and bringing their in-conference record to 6-2. CSUB currently slides to 1 game behind both Grand Canyon University and New Mexico State University for first place in the WAC.

The Roadrunners will look to bounce back in their next game against the first place New Mexico State University Aggies this Thursday, February 7th at the Icardo Center with tip-off scheduled for 7 pm.