SEATTLE, Wash.- Moataz Aly scored a layup with 20 seconds remaining and added a steal on the defensive end to seal a 51-48 road win for CSUB over Seattle U; the 100th win for Rod Barnes at the helm of CSUB.
The Roadrunners shot a season-worst 2-22 from three-point range and managed just 20-62 (32%) from the field, but their defense once again held firm, holding Seattle to just 6-24 from the field in the second half (25%) and overall just 16-48 (33%).
“It was tough out there tonight, it wasn’t one of our better games, Barnes said. “We were a tired team, we didn’t make free throws, we didn’t make shots but we defended when we needed to defend, we got a big block down there and got a couple plays to close the game.”
“When you go on the road you just have to go and get it, and our guys got it tonight, a gutsy-win for us.”
The ‘Runners erased a six-point halftime deficit and took the lead with 12:39 to play in the second half. There were three more lead changes until Jaylin Airington hit a layup with one minute remaining to put the Roadrunners up 46-48.
Seattle would pull within one on the next possession when William Powell hit one of two free-throws. That’s when Aly would make the layup and draw the foul off the feed from Airington. He would miss the free throw allowing Seattle the chance to tie but Aly would contest the next layup by Powell leading to a CSUB rebound and Justin Pride being fouled. Pride made one of two free throws to put CSUB up by three. Aly would steal the next possession in the Seattle U front court, draw a foul but miss a pair of free-throws. Powell’s desperation three off the rebound would miss wide as the ‘Runners held on for the road victory. The Roadrunners concluded their WAC road schedule with a 6-1 mark and remained one-game ahead of NM State with three games to play.
“Our team just hung in there, that’s what really good teams do, they figure out a way to win,” Barnes said. “We’re excited about coming back to Bakersfield with a chance to win an outright conference regular-season title but we need to play better.”
CSUB was led by Matt Smith’s 12 points and 8 rebounds on 6-8 from the field. The Redhawks’ zone defense gave CSUB trouble at times offensively as Airington was the only other Roadrunner to score in double figures adding 10 points on 4-15 from the field and 1-6 from three-point range. Airington made the first three-pointer for CSUB at the 18:21 mark of the first half. The Roadrunners would miss their next 19 attempts before Dedrick Basile converted with 3:12 to play.
The win was also the 100th for Rod Barnes as head coach of the Roadrunners. He joins Pat Douglas and Henry Clark as the only other Roadrunners coaches to reach that milestone at CSUB.
“I am thankful to God, the administration and all the people that have supported us,” Barnes said. “Surely thankful for the coaches and the players that have played in the past to help me to get there. It’s an accomplishment for our program and for our teams that have gone before us.”
The Roadrunners return home for their final three WAC regular-season games starting Thursday, Feb. 23 hosting UMKC at the Icardo Center. Second to the Roadrunners, the ‘Roos are the hottest team in the WAC having won five straight after an 84-65 win over Chicago State on Saturday.
Thursday’s game features a special ‘661 Appreciation Night’ honoring Kern County fans with all general admission tickets available for $6.61. Call 654-BLUE or visit GoRunners.com/Tix for more information.
That game will be available on Newstalk 1180/96.1 FM KERN beginning at 6:30 P.M. It will also be streamed live on the WAC Digital Network. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 P.M.