BAKERSFIELD, Calif. The CSUB defense held Chicago State to a mere 49 points and the calling card for the Roadrunners’ program all season led them to their first Western Athletic Conference regular-season championship with a 69-49 win over the Cougars Saturday night.
The win secured the outright title for the Roadrunners, their first in the WAC and the first conference title for men’s basketball since the 1997-98 season when the Roadrunners won the CCAA championship as a Division II team. Bakersfield led wire-to-wire, including by as many as 30 points as they cruised to their 10th straight victory, their 17th-straight at home giving the homecoming crowd a piece of history along the way.
“I’m just proud of our guys, it’s a great accomplishment, something that’s unbelievable,” said head coach Rod Barnes. “I’m excited for our kids and our program, so much hard work from so many people.”
The WAC regular-season title is the first outright WAC title for CSUB Athletics in any sport. Baseball won the 2013 championship as co-champions. This is just the fourth time in CSUB’s Division I history that a team has won the regular-season title joining that of baseball a pair of Pac-12 championships for CSUB wrestling.
Bakersfield was led by Damiyne Durham’s 18 points, the redshirt-sophomore guard who has struggled from three-point range in each of the last two games broke out of that funk with a 7-14 night from the field and 4-10 from three-point range. He was joined by Dedrick Basile who scored 11 second-half points to finish with 14 for the Roadrunners who shot 41% from the field and 35% from the three in the win. The Roadrunners defense, one of the best in the nation lived up to that billing on Saturday, holding Chicago State to 49 points and just 14-55 from the field (26%) and 6-21 from three-point range (29%).
CSUB also managed to hold Cougars leading scorer Fred Sims Jr. to 14 points, below his season-average of 19 and keep Trayvon Palmer to just six points, well-below his 15 ppg mark coming into the contest.
The Roadrunners outscored Chicago State 28-12 in the pain and had a 14-0 advantage in fast-break scoring.
The Roadrunners will be the top-seed at the WAC Tournament March 9-11 in Las Vegas. With that the Roadrunners will have a first-round bye and will face the winner of the Seattle-Utah Valley game on Friday, March 10.
Prior to that, CSUB has one regular-season game remaining on Saturday, March 4 when they host Grand Canyon on senior night at the Icardo Center. CSUB will honor the career of Jaylin Airington, Dedrick Basile, Justin Pride and Matt Smith with one final home game. That game will also be nationally-televised on the American Sports Network.