DAYTON, Ohio – The Roadrunner men’s basketball team led North Dakota for the majority of Sunday afternoon’s game, but the Fighting Hawks went on a 23-5 run over the final nine minutes to come from behind and defeat CSU Bakersfield 57-55 to close the Men Against Breast Cancer Classic.
“We didn’t finish the game,” said Rod Barnes, Head Coach of the ‘Runners. “We had so many opportunities to put them away. Give them credit. They finished when they needed to finish. We didn’t finish the game today and we’re normally pretty good at that.”
The 'Runners came out of the gates well and used a 10-0 run in the final stretch of the opening period to sprint ahead of the Hawks. CSUB led UND 31-20 at halftime behind 10 points from redshirt senior Matt Smith. Despite going 1-for-5 from the field in the first half, junior Shon Briggs propelled the ‘Runners with three assists, three steals, and five rebounds.
CSUB maintained a double-digit lead through most of the second half, but a late run by UND brought the Hawks within five points with three minutes remaining in the game. With 1:39 on the clock, a steal and a layup by guard Geno Crandall resulted in a 55-55 tie.
North Dakota earned the final possession and came out of the timeout with 17 seconds remaining. A pair of missed jumpers were followed by a pair of offensive rebounds and Conner Avants’ put-back layup as time expired gave the Hawks the two-point victory.
CSUB’s defense was strong in the game, holding UND under 60 points and forcing 18 turnovers, but the ‘Runner offense went cold in the second half. A 16-0 run by UND to close the game sealed the win in Dayton. “I’m proud of our kids,” Barnes said. “They played well for 34 minutes, but that last six minutes, I think we were just worn down and we didn’t play the way we were capable of playing.”
Senior Dedrick Basile led the ‘Runners with a game-high 17 points on Sunday. Briggs went on to pull down 11 rebounds against the Hawks while Smith finished the game with 16 points. Redshirt junior Brent Wrapp scored 12 points and added three assists for CSUB.
The Roadrunners (4-3) will return home to host Pacific Union on Nov. 30, at the Icardo Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The game will be streamed live on the Roadrunner Sports Network and over the air on KERN Newstalk 1180 AM/96.1 FM.