BAKERSFIELD, Calif.- Grand Canyon built a 16-point lead in the second half and while the CSUB Roadrunners battled back within three in the final minute, they could not come up with enough offense in a 58-52 loss Saturday night.
“They (GCU) have a good basketball team, we didn’t score well early which I was concerned about and we had a drought where we missed too many easy shots,” said CSUB head coach Rod Barnes. “It was a good game for our kids because it gets us ready for tournament play, it’s the kind of game you want to be in this late.”
The game had no meaning on standings or championships with CSUB’s place as the top-seed in the WAC already secured and regular-season title as well. CSUB played without point guard Brent Wrapp as a precaution to give him additional rest prior to the Roadrunners WAC Tournament opener Friday in Las Vegas.
CSUB was led by senior Jaylin Airington’s 19 points in his final home game but CSUB struggled to make shots converting on just 15-56 from the field. The Roadrunners trailed by 14 at the half and managed to hold GCU to just 2-17 from the field in the second half but sent the ‘Lopes to the free-throw line 25 times in the half, they converted on 16 of those shots to hold the Roadrunners at bay.
“We’re in a position to win the WAC Tournament,” Barnes said. “This game showed our ability to come back, we’ve been leading in close games but this one showed the character of our team.”
“We didn’t close out the way we wanted to but I liked what happened in terms of getting us ready for next week.”
The loss snaps CSUB's 11-game winning streak and 17-game home winning streak dating back to last season.
GCU was led by Joshua Braun who scored 16 points on 5-13 from the field and 4-7 from three-point range. The ‘Lopes also outrebounded the Roadrunners 45 -39 including 12 offensive rebounds.
CSUB will face the winner of #4 Utah Valley and #5 Seattle U in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament on Friday, March 10 at 6 P.M. at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. CSUB swept the season series with both opponents.
Friday’s game can be heard live on Newstalk 1180/96.1 FM KERN with live video coverage available on the WAC Digital Network.