Roadrunners come up short against Aggies on homecoming night

Brian Melgar, Sports Writer

  CSU Bakersfield’s homecoming game was one to remember, with the Roadrunners pulling out all the stops against rival New Mexico State Aggies in their final Western Athletic Conference home game. 

  The atmosphere in the Icardo Center was intense, and redshirt junior guard De’Monte Buckingham cut through that tension with a quick three-pointer to pick up the first points for the ‘Runners. From there, it was a tough battle between the Runners and the undefeated Aggies. The ‘Runners showed their defensive prowess, keeping the Aggies at bay as much as possible, finishing the first half of the game trailing behind at 32-22.  

  Following an energetic halftime performance by the Spirit Squad and the crowning of homecoming royalty, the second half of the game commenced, and both teams continued the fierce fight for the win in CSUB’s final game at home in the WAC. The ‘Runners did everything to hold off the Aggies’ aggressive offense but just couldn’t pull it up. The final score of the game was 62-46 with the win going to the Aggies. With this defeat, the home stand for the ‘Runners in the WAC has come to an end, and the team will be looking ahead to the future. 

  Redshirt junior guards Justin Edler-Davis and Taze Moore both spoke at the postgame press conference, where they discussed the game and the future of the team.  

  “They’ve always been a good team,” Moore said upon being asked how he felt about the Aggies. “We put ourselves in the hole.”  

  “You can’t shoot yourself in the foot or they’ll take advantage,” Edler-Davis said, following up on Moore’s comments. Both players agreed that the Aggies were an impressive team, and they felt they learned a lot about their own positions playing against them.  

  When asked about the mindset they had going into this game knowing that it was the final home game in the WAC, Edler-Davis responded by saying they just want to win a game. They always have the mindset of taking everything one game at a time and always going in with the goal of winning a game.  

 With the WAC championship tournament right around the corner, Edler-Davis stated that it will be a fun three days and that and the team believes that everyone in the WAC this year is beatable. Moore commented on the upcoming challenge as well, saying, “We’re one of the hardest working programs in the WAC,” and asserting that they will continue to grow and improve. 

  Head coach Rod Barnes also spoke about the Aggies’ performance during the postgame conference, echoing sentiments from his players, stating, “[the Aggies] have a really good basketball team. They basically dominated our league.”  

  When asked how he felt following the game, Barnes said, “I thought we had some things early that hurt us, like not making free throws, but I’m proud of our kids, and we’re gonna take this next week, work and get better.”  

  Barnes said that a loss on the court is not a loss of morale, and that he knows his players are still confident in their skills and can take that confidence to the next level with more hard work and determination. 

  The CSUB Roadrunners’ next game is on March 7 at 5 p.m. in the Arena at Grand Canyon University where they will face off against the Grand Canyon ‘Lopes in their final regular season game. This will also be the ‘Runners’ final game in the WAC until the WAC Championship on March 11, which will be the team’s last appearance in the tournament. ‘Runner basketball will be in the Big West Conference starting next season.