Injuries plague Roadrunners in loss to Aggies

Isiah Santana, Sports Editor

Forward guard Antavion “Dude” Collum scoring a slam dunk after rebounding the ball from UC Davis. Photo by Ranara Lim / The Runner.

The tension was high for California State University, Bakersfield’s and University of California, Davis’s game on Thursday night as Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Rod Barnes, searched for his first win against UC Davis as a Roadrunner. The Roadrunners came out of the gates playing great defense as they grabbed a 7-2 lead to begin the game. However, that would not remain the case as the Aggies fought hard to take the lead. 

 The Aggies were red hot in the first half, shooting 54.5% (6-11) from three and putting on an 18-4 run in a 6-minute span, led by Aggies Junior Guard Elijah Pepper, who had 14 points and five rebounds. Pepper also tied a season high in threes (4) during the half. The Roadrunners tried their hardest to mount a comeback, bringing a 27-point lead down to 13 in the second half before losing the game 79-58.  

The Roadrunners, however, were plagued with injuries as they were without top scorer and assist man Kaleb Higgins (Guard). Higgins is out for the season with a torn meniscus that he suffered facing Cal Poly (Jan. 5). The Roadrunners were also missing leading rebounder and shot blocker Modestas Kancleris (Forward), along with Ugnius Jarusevicius (Forward), and Naseem Gaskin (Guard) all due to injuries or illnesses.  

When asked about how big a detriment the injuries have been to the Roadrunners, Barnes stated “…you’re changing the game plan every week or so, and that’s been difficult, you know, for us whenever we get where we got a good flow or we got good chemistry, you know, something happens. Someone gets hurt.” 

It wasn’t all bad news for the Roadrunners as their bench outscored the Aggies 20-16, led by Freshman Guard Kaseem Watson, who had a career high 14 points Thursday night.   

When asked what was working for him, Watson stated, “I think highly of myself on the offensive end, I just think like, I just believe nobody could guard me and just and then if coach gimme the ball he call my number I gotta answer the bell…” 

Another bright spot in the Roadrunners game Thursday night was the big performance from Antavion “Dude” Collum, who tied a career high 20 points despite the loss.   

When asked about how he can take Thursday night’s loss to learn from for future games, Junior Guard/Forward Antavion “Dude” Collum stated, “I’d say just take what they give me, notice the weaknesses of the other team, and be effective.”  

Although the Roadrunners took the loss on Thursday night, they showed Head Coach Rod Barnes that they were not going to stop playing until that last buzzer sounded as they took the Aggies lead down from 27 to 13 at one point in the second half.  

When asked about what he liked during the attempt to comeback, Barnes stated, “I thought in that point I thought our kids showed some fight, thought they showed some resilience to come back…”  

The Roadrunners next contest at home is Thursday, Feb. 2, when they take on the Highlanders of the University of California, Riverside.