OREM, UT- Matt Smith led four Roadrunners in double figures with 18 points as the CSUB Roadrunners held off several Utah Valley runs and won their seventh-straight 80-71 Thursday night over the Wolverines.
The Roadrunners (18-7, 9-1 WAC) held on to first place in the WAC standings with the victory. They led by as many as 16 points and managed to weather a barrage of Wolverine (11-14, 3-7 WAC) three-pointers to earn the road win, their fifth this season in WAC play.
“It was a team effort tonight, defensively we played well, offensively we have to do a better job, we can’t have that many turnovers, we missed too many free throws,” said CSUB head coach Rod Barnes. “Grateful and thankful for the win tonight, we’ve got to play better if we want to continue to win, but we’ll get it right.”
Bakersfield led by nine points in the first half after Damiyne Durham hit his second of three treys in the game. Utah Valley would respond, pulling within two points with 4:55 remaining in the first half. CSUB would then close the half on an 11-1 run and hold Utah Valley scoreless over the final 2:46 to build a 38-26 lead at the break. Durham led the Roadrunners with 11 points at the half.
The second half would hold a similar story as the Roadrunners led by 11 with 10:06 to go. Utah Valley would hit three-straight from the outside to cut the Bakersfield lead to 58-54 with 7:33 to play. The Roadrunners would respond again, going on a 12-0 run over the next four minutes to extend the lead to 16 points. Utah Valley would capitalize on late CSUB turnovers and make three more three-pointers inside of the final two minutes to cut the deficit, but Bakersfield closed the game by scoring four points from the free-throw line and another pair from the field to seal the win.
Bakersfield dished out 24 assists in the win and shot the ball for a 56% clip in the game going 30-54 from the field. Durham added 16 points while Jaylin Airington added 14 on 3-6 from the field, 1-1 from three-point range and 7-10 from the free-throw line. Airington also dished out a game-high seven assists. Shon Briggs had another impressive performance off the bench adding 13 points on 5-6 from the field, Briggs also had three assists in the win.
“Every time they made a run, we responded,” Barnes said. “That was because of our defense, our defense turned into offense. We’re doing some really good things but we’ve got to do some things a little bit better.”
Jordan Poydras led Utah Valley with 15 points on 5-10 shooting and 2-7 from three-point range. Connor Toolson added 14 for Utah Valley who went 9-19 from three-point range in the second half. The Roadrunners forced 19 turnovers, eight steals and scored 21 points as a result.
Bakersfield has won seven straight and will play their final regular-season road game on Saturday night at Seattle U. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 P.M. That game will be live on Newstalk 1180/96.1 FM KERN beginning at 6:30 with the Dignity Health Pregame Show. It will also be live on the WAC Digital Network.