Win makes 350 for Coach Barnes

Vincent Ortiz, Sports Reporter

The CSU Bakersfield men’s basketball team beat Life Pacific on Saturday night 85-60 and in the process earned Head Coach Rod Barnes his 350th career win. The ‘Runners were coming off a tough loss to #2 UCLA and wanted to earn a victory in their home opener at the Icardo Center.

When asked what it meant to get his 350th career win Coach Barnes said: “I couldn’t start without thanking God for the many opportunities that I’ve had and the many coaches that I’ve worked with.”

Photo by Joe Bejarano/The Runner

The Roadrunners were sluggish to begin the game and the Warriors exceptional ball movement made it an 18-18 tie game midway through the first. The Warriors had no answer for the Justins though.

As guard Justin McCall grabbed a rebound and drew a foul, converting the free throw for a 3-point play. Shortly after, Justin Elder-Davis found his zone at the top of the elbow for a smooth jumper to give the Roadrunners a 13-point lead. The Roadrunners played stellar defense and held Warrior leading scorer Austin Cook scoreless. At half the Roadrunners led 43-30.

The Roadrunners started the second half right where they left off as Guard David Walker had a monstrous slam dunk igniting the Icardo Center crowd. As the game progressed the Roadrunner depth began to wear down the smaller Warriors. With 9:02 left in the game junior college transfer Kaleb Higgins broke the game wide open with four consecutive buckets.

Three Roadrunners scored in double figures Saturday night with sophomore guard Caleb Higgins leading both teams with 17 points on 6-11 shooting, including two 3-points shots that busted the game wide open.

Senior guard McCall had an-other stellar game racking up 12 points and 6 rebounds. McCall credited his teammates with his success “we worked together well as a unit, the shots I got, I couldn’t have got without my team.”

Guard Justin Edler-Davis was unstoppable all night hitting shots from the top of the elbow and short corner, scoring 15 points for the Roadrunners. On the win Elder-Davis said “it builds confidence and positive attitudes and we’ll continue to build off it.”

The Warriors were led in scoring by Pedro Leal-Cruz who scored 12 points on 4-5 from the field.

Going forward Barnes noted ‘as far as x’s and o’s we have to defend better.’

The Roadrunners (1-1) will hit the road for their next game as they play Northern Arizona in Flagstaff on Thursday, Nov. 18. The game can be seen on ESPN+ and has a 5 p.m. (PT) tip-off.