CSUB Men’s Basketball fall in first round of WAC Tournament


Chris Lopez

CSUB Mens basketball players Justin McCall and Justin Elder-Davis attempt to block UTRGV player at the basket

Chris Burdick, Assistant Sports Editor

With the Western Athletic Conference Tournament in full swing, the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners took the court in hopes to advance to the semi-final round, taking on the fourth seeded University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley.

The Roadrunners came into the game as the fifth overall seed in the Western Athletic Tournament. With a 16-14 overall record and a 7-9 in conference record.

Before the game, it was announced that sophomore guard and star player Jarkel Joiner was selected 1st team all-WAC. Joiner had a great Sophomore campaign and lead all WAC players with 18 points a game in conference play.

CSUB started the first half rough. The defense could not seem to get a stop as they allowed UTRGV to get off to a very hot start as they began the game making 15 of their first 18 shots.

UTRGV was able to ride their hot streak and dominated the first half of play holding a game high 22-point lead with six minutes left in the first half.

The Vaqueros caused 13 CSUB turnovers and were able to hit over 53 percent from the field in the first half all while holding the Roadrunners to only 35 percent shooting.

The Roadrunners could not find an answer for the Vaqueros incredible shooting but were able to spark some momentum at the end of the first half.

Finishing with two big three-point shots from Senior guard Rickey Holden and another two-point shot from Joiner, CSUB was able to bring the score at the end of the first half down to 43-28.

It wasn’t until the second half that CSUB was able to get things going.

Joiner was able to start off strong with five unanswered points in the first two and a half minutes of the half and senior forward James Suber was able to contribute with six straight points in the paint to get the CSUB crowd roaring.

Red-shirt Sophomore Forward Taze Moore followed Suber’s example and had a huge second half as well scoring 11 of his 13 total points along with a huge three-point shot with 12 minutes left to bring the lead down to single digits.

Moore also grabbed a game high nine rebounds while bringing both a vocal leadership in the game and energetic defense to help CSUB’s scoring run.

“All [Coach Barnes] recruits are dogs, real players,” Moore said. “James Suber is out captain, our big dog. We’re gonna run behind him so if Suber says ‘we go hard, or we go home’ then I’m gonna ride with him.”

CSUB was able to work the lead down to just seven points with nine minutes remaining in the game.

But a few fouls lead to the Vaqueros capitalizing late with a 8-2 run of their own with only five minutes left in the game.

The Roadrunners did all they could in the second half but were unable to mount the comeback needed to sneak away with the victory. Ending the game with a final score of 85-70.

“This loss hurt but we know what kind of team we have for the future,” said Joiner. “We aren’t going to be passive, we will learn from this.”

“It’s gonna sting,” said CSUB Men’s basketball coach Rod Barnes. “We aren’t here to participate, as a coach I won’t feel right until we are back here next year and win.”

With this being the final game of seniors Rockey Holden, James Suber and Bray Barnes careers at CSUB, Joiner had some comments about having to seeing his senior teammates ending their careers with this loss.

“We hate to see our seniors leave like this, but they are our big brothers,” said Joiner. “We’re gonna be with them tell the end and whatever they decide to do in the future, we love them, we are a family.”

Regardless of the outcome, Coach Barnes is still excited to see the future of this program.

“I like the future of our program, the young players we have, and we are really looking forward to our future,” said coach Barnes.

This marks the second straight year that the CSUB Roadrunners have been beaten in the first round of the WAC Tournament but coach Barnes and the players in the program still have high hopes for the 2020 season.