BAKERSFIELD, Calif.- The Bakersfield Roadrunners open the home portion of their 2013-14 season Monday night hosting UC Merced at the Icardo Center in a special Veterans Day game and celebration.

The ‘Runners are coming off a 62-56 setback at Washington State in which they trailed by as many as 18 before closing out the final 13 minutes with strong offense and defense as they pulled within two points with 1:35 remaining. A missed three-pointer from Bakersfield inside of a minute to play and made free-throws by Washington State allowed the Cougars to hold on for the win.

CSUB was led by Abdul Ahmed (R-Jr., London, England, Trinity Valley CC) who scored 12 points on 3-7 shooting and 3-5 from three-point range. Brandon Barnes (R-Jr., Atlanta, Ga., Lipscomb) added 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds off the bench in 24 minutes of play.

Free throws were the big issue for Bakersfield who converted on just 11-28 attempts.

UC Merced meanwhile is coming off a season-opening 92-65 loss at Fresno Pacific. The Bobcats, an NAIA program out of the Cal Pac Conference managed to shoot just 10-41 from the field and 5-18 from three-point range in the loss. Sophomore guard Michael Pierick led the way with 27 points for the Bobcats on 8-21 from the field and 5-17 from three-point range. Senior forward George Idehen added 17 points on 3-7 from the field and 10-16 from the free throw line.

Bakersfield is 35-7 all-time in home openers and 1-1 under head coach Rod Barnes. The Roadrunners are opening a four-game home stand in which they have the potential to win the program’s 800th overall victory. CSUB enters Monday night 798-422 all-time in 42 seasons of play.

Monday’s action will also include a special salute to military veterans. The first 250 fans will receive a ‘Bakersfield Basketball-Veterans Day’ t-shirt presented by Coca Cola. 2013-14 schedule posters will also be given out.

Sons of the American Revolution along with the Bakersfield High School color guard will present the colors. A veterans thank you and other activities for those who served is also planned.  Military members showing a military or military base I.D. at the ticket window will also receive a general admission seat for just $5.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7 P.M. with the doors opening at 6 P.M.