LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Stephon Carter (Sr., Bakersfield, Calif., Garces HS) scored a team-high 18 points to lead a rejuvenated second-half Roadrunners team to a 69-64 win over Mississippi Valley State in the final round of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic Sunday afternoon at The Orleans Arena.
Carter scored 14 of his 18 in the second half as CSUB found a renewed aggressiveness in driving towards the hoop as they overcame a six-point halftime deficit to earn the win in the final round of their first regular-season tournament at the Division I level. Along with Carter's 18, CSUB also received double-digits from Tyrone White (Sr., Portland, Ore., North Idaho CC) who scored 15 while Brandon Barnes (R-Jr., Atlanta, Ga., Lipscomb) added 16 points to go along with 10 points from Javonte Maynor (R-So., Atlanta, Ga., Georgia State) including three three-point baskets.
"The second half I thought we played the way we needed to play" said head coach Rod Barnes. "I thought our kids hung in there, showed some toughness, I thought our guys worked hard and stayed right there in the game which enabled us to pull out a win."
Playing their fifth game in eight days and their second in a row, the Roadrunners went deep into the bench receiving timely contributions from junior guard Matthew Ratto (Ripon, Calif., Modesto CC) who scored six points while grabbing six rebounds while also making several key plays on the defensive end in the second half to help seal the 'Runners win.
"Matt is a scrapper, he's a kid that's been working hard in practice," Barnes said. "Today I thought he came in, I thought he gave us huge numbers as far as those points and rebounds he gave us were big for us and I was very pleased with the way he played."
CSUB trailed by as many as 11 in the game, but with 13:49 remaining, a Carter layup made it a one-point game at 45-44. Mississippi Delta's Davon Usher turned the ball over on the ensuing possession on a backcourt violation which also led to a technical foul on MVSU's head coach Chico Potts. Carter tied the game with one free throw before Adam Young (Sr., Las Vegas, Nev., Barton CC) hit a three-pointer on the next possession to give the 'Runners the lead for good. CSUB led by as many as six points over the final 12 minutes.
Usher led Mississippi Valley (0-9) with a game-high 26 points on 5-10 shooting and 15-19 from the free throw line.
The Roadrunners will return to action Saturday night, Dec. 29 when they play at Loyola Marymount at 7 P.M. CSUB returns home the following evening hosting North Carolina A&T at Rabobank Arena at 4 P.M. Free tickets are available for that game by printing off the ticket voucher online at GoRunners.com.