PULLMAN, Wash. - The Bakersfield Roadrunners open the 2013-14 season at Washington State Friday night, marking the second time in three seasons the Roadrunners have opened on the road against a team from the Pac-12 Conference.
“They lost a couple of key guys from last season but they have the depth with seven guys returning so they’re going to have the experience out there,” said head coach Rod Barnes. “We’re looking forward to it, it’s a good matchup for us; I think our guys are excited about the opportunity and we’re just going to go up there and try to get better.”
Bakersfield is coming off a 104-63 exhibition win over Occidental on Saturday night; an effort that Barnes says is a good start for his team.
“It was a great effort; our focus going into the game was to try to get guys inside and getting the ball in the paint,” Barnes said. “Our perimeter guys shot the ball pretty well so that’s the kind of balance you want, I thought we did a great job of getting everyone involved and played a lot of guys and that’s what you want to do in an exhibition game. “
Washington State returns several players from their 2012-13 squad but lost nearly half of their offensive production to graduation. The Cougars were 13-19 last season and 4-12 in Pac-12 play but managed to play some of their best basketball down the stretch. Three starters return to the team including guards Davonte Lacy and Royce Woolridge who are the top-two returning scorers from a season ago averaging 11 and 10.5 points per game respectively. Also returning is starting forward D.J. Shelton who played his senior year of high school at East in Bakersfield. He averaged six points and six rebounds per game last season as a junior at Washington State.
The Roadrunners are a combined 0-12 against teams out of the Pac-12 but this matchup is one of the friendliest when it comes to size and experience. CSUB has three post players 6’10” or above to help combat some of the interior size held by the Cougars. Bakersfield is also strong on the wing where Brandon Barnes, Javonte Maynor and Zach Lamb return to help the Roadrunners both offensively and defensively when dealing with the athleticism of Washington State. Erik Kinney has also showed tremendous improvement from a season ago and will be an impact wing player for the Roadrunners this season.
The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network on Friday night with tip-off at 7 P.M. You can also listen to the game live on KERN Radio Newstalk 1180 beginning at 6:30 with the ‘Dignity Health Shoot around Show.”
Bakersfield opens the home portion of their schedule Monday night hosting UC Merced at the Icardo Center. It’s also Veterans Day with special ‘Bakersfield Basketball Veterans Day’ t-shirts for the first 250 fans. Sons of the American Revolution as well as the BHS Color Guard will be in attendance. Several other military honors are planned for the evening. Tip-off is 7 P.M.