BAKERSFIELD, Calif.- Issiah Grayson led four Roadrunners in double figures as Bakersfield ran their home winning streak to three games beating Nevada 74-66 Monday night at Rabobank Arena; the first win for the program against a team from the Mountain West Conference.
Grayson shot 5-of-10 from the field and 2-of-5 from three-point range as Bakersfield won their third straight and improved to 3-1 to start the season for the second time under head coach Rod Barnes.
“I think our guys are really playing well together; they’re accepting their roles, but like I told them tonight we’re still not as good as we need to be,” Barnes said. “I thought we had guys step up like Abdul (Ahmed) and I thought Issiah (Grayson) was solid; it’s just a good team effort and a good team win.”
The ‘Runners only trailed early in the game after the first basket, a three-pointer from Deonte Burton and again with 15:31 left in the half when Nevada held a 7-5 advantage. Bakersfield however would step up the defensive pressure and took the lead on a Javonte Maynor (R-Jr., Atlanta, Ga., Georgia State) steal and Tyrell Corbin (Jr., Columbia S.C., Salt Lake City CC) layup. The ‘Runners never trailed again and finished the first half on a long two-pointer by Abdul Ahmed (R-Jr., London, England, Trinity Valley CC) at the buzzer to lead 38-30 at the break.
In the second half Ahmed again would have the hot hand converting on his first two shots including a three-pointer to build the Bakersfield lead to 11 with just over 15 minutes to play. That would be it for Ahmed after that as he picked up his fourth foul on the ensuing play and then his fifth foul on a technical called shortly after following his protest of the call. He finished with 14 points on 6-of-7 from the field and 2-of-2 from three-point range.
The Roadrunners again went into the bench to make up for the loss of Ahmed as Erik Kinney (So., Fairfield, Calif., Sacramento HS) added 11 points on a 9-of-10 night from the free-throw line while grabbing a game-high seven rebounds and Corey Hall (Sr., Chicago Ill., Ventura CC) who finished with eight points and was 4-of-6 from the free-throw line.
“This just gives out guys confidence that we can play and have a really good team,” Barnes said. “It’s a big win for us.”
Guard play was again key tonight as Grayson managed important shots from the field and converted from the free-throw line late where he was 3-of-4 in the final minutes. Corbin added 13 points and was 9-of-10 from the free throw line as Bakersfield and Nevada had a total of 58 fouls called in the game as the ‘Runners were 28-of-40 from the free-throw line. CSUB shot 48% from the field (21-of-30) while they managed 4-of-12 from three-point range.
After Bakersfield built a 13-point second-half lead on a few occasions, Deonte Burton managed to pull the Wolf Pack back within six points with a layup with 3:15 to play and with 1:15 to play following a three-pointer but the Roadrunners would hit the free throws and seal the win. Burton led the Wolf Pack with 24 points, Cole Huff added 12.
This is Bakersfield first victory over an opponent from the Mountain West Conference. Nevada is a former member of Bakersfield’s current conference, the WAC and are in their second season of play in the Mountain West.
The ‘Runners return to their on-campus home on Saturday night hosting Idaho State at the Icardo Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 P.M.