SAN DIEGO, Calif.- The CSUB Roadrunners, playing the first of two games against, nationally-ranked opponents Wednesday night trailed by as many as 24 points in the second half to #17 San Diego State, but rallied in the second half before falling 72-57 in front of 12,414 at Viejas Arena.
The 'Runners fell behind early after shooting just 32% in the first half while the Aztecs (12-2) shot 50% from the field and closed the first half on a 9-0 run to take a 37-20 lead at the break. San Diego State would continue their success early in the half extending their lead to 24 points with 9:02 remaining. CSUB however would respond with a 12-4 run over the next four minutes to pull within 15 with 5:30 remaining. A few turnovers and missed shots in the ensuing possession allowed the Aztecs to rebuild an 18-point margin.
"I was happy with the way our guys fought tonight, because our guys always fight," said CSUB head coach Rod Barnes. "We did some things well in the second half, pulling back within 15 points, and then some bad things happened, and you can't do those things against a good team like this."
The Roadrunners were sparked in the second half by Stephon Carter (Sr., Bakersfield, Calif., Garces HS) who scored 18 of his game-high 21 points after halftime while going 9-17 from the field. Corey Hall (Jr., Chicago, Ill., Ventura CC), coming off his best game on the glass vs. North Carolina A & T, responded with his best offensive effort scoring a career-high 14 points on 6-11 shooting while narrowly missing his first double-double with nine rebounds.
CSUB shot 41% in the second half while holding the Aztecs to 39% from the field and 0-5 from beyond the arc where the 'Runners also struggled going just 3-18 from three-point range. The Roadrunners were far more aggressive in the post during the second half, driving to the bucket to cut the deficit on multiple occasions as the 'Runners outscored the Aztecs 34-26 in the paint.
"We can't be satisfied with losing by 15 points, because that team was 15-points better than us tonight, Barnes said. "If we are satisfied by losing to the number-17 team in the country by 15 points we'll never move from where we are as a program."
The 'Runners return to action on Saturday night taking on #20 (USA Today Poll) UNLV Saturday night at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. Tip off is scheduled for 7 P.M. The game will also be televised on Time Warner SportsNet.