EDINBURG, Texas- Stefon Johnson (R-Sr., Cincinnati, Ohio Gardner-Webb) hit back-to-back three-pointers inside the final five minutes and the Roadrunners made their final six free-throws as they snapped a four-game WAC losing streak Saturday night 72-64 over Texas-Pan American at the UTPA Fieldhouse.
Bakersfield (9-13, 2-6 WAC) had struggled closing out conference games in the final five minutes, but Saturday night Bakersfield made two of their final three field goal attempts while holding the Broncs (6-17, 2-6 WAC) to just 3-of-12 shooting in the final five as well.
“The great thing about these kids is that they stay strong and continue to work,” said head coach Rod Barnes. “Thank God for these kids, they have every reason to put their heads down and run away but we still have kids that are fighting.”
CSUB was led by Issiah Grayson’s (R-Sr., Atlanta, Ga., Southern Idaho CC) 27 points on 8-of-10 shooting, 3-of-3 from three-point range while recording four assists and three steals in the Bakersfield win. It’s the 8th game this season that Grayson has scored more than 20 points.
The Roadrunners struggled in the first half with six turnovers which led to 13 points for UT Pan American who led 31-26 at the break after Bakersfield closed out the half on a 4-0 run. The Roadrunners didn’t take their first lead in the game until the 17-minute mark of the second half, the lead would change hands five times in the second half with the Roadrunners taking the lead for good with 5:25 to play.
“We talked all at halftime about the last four minutes and guys making plays and we were more aggressive tonight,” Barnes said. “Tonight was a great night for us and hopefully we can take this and move forward.”
CSUB shot 12-of-22 in the second half for 54.5% after just managing 9-of-24 in the first half. The ‘Runners were also 4-of-8 from three-point range in the second half and were 6-of-15 in the game. Javonte Maynor (R-Jr., Atlanta, Ga., Georgia State) added 13 points on 2-of-7 shooting and a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line. Brandon Barnes (R-Jr., Atlanta, Ga., Lipscomb) added 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting while adding four assists. Barnes made to critical free-throws to extend the Bakersfield lead to six points with 2:09 to play.
This was the first win for Bakersfield at the UTPA Fieldhouse where they were previously 0-3.
UT Pan American was led by Shaquille Hines’ 15 points on 7-of-12 from the field. The Broncs shot 53.6% in the first half but were only 13-of-36 in the second half and 1-of-11 from three-point range where they converted just 2-of-17 in the game. The Roadrunners outrebounded the Broncs in the second half as well 22-19.
Bakersfield opens the second half of WAC play Saturday, Feb., 8 as they head to Grand Canyon. The Antelopes defeated Kansas City Saturday night 72-53 in Kansas City.