PHOENIX, Ariz. The CSUB Roadrunners led only once Saturday night at GCU Arena, but once was enough as Dedrick Basile’s three-pointer with 1:38 remaining as the Roadrunners defeated Grand Canyon 65-62 as the first half of WAC play concluded.
“This was a big win for our kids and for our program to come on the road,” said head coach Rod Barnes. “This is the toughest place we’ve played in besides Arizona so, they’re a good team, they’re well-coached and at the end we threw a different look at them defensive to try to get some stops, our free-throw shooting was horrible tonight but we found a way to win.”
“This team came up big when they needed to come up big.”
The Roadrunners trailed by as many as nine points in the first half after a slow offensive start and trailed 35-30 at the half. The ‘Runners would pull within three points seven times and two points on three occasions before taking the lead on a possession that started with a Basile turnover before Shon Briggs stole the ball back for the ‘Runners leading to Basile’s open look from three-point range to give CSUB a 61-60 lead.
Following a GCU missed layup, Matt Smith made a layup in the lane to extend the lead to 63-60 with 46 seconds left. GCU’s Josh Braun would miss another layup on the following possession leading to a CSUB rebound and GCU foul. Jaylin Airington made one free throw to extend the lead to four points with 22 seconds left. GCU would score on a layup with seven seconds left but the Roadrunners closed it out with another Airington free throw to secure their first win at GCU Arena.
Both teams struggled with foul trouble as CSUB was whistled for 24 personal fouls while 25 were called on the ‘Lopes who had two players, Keonta Vernon and Oscar Frayer foul out with just under 10 minutes remaining. Moataz Aly fouled out for CSUB after scoring five points grabbing four rebounds and blocking two shots. Smith played just four minutes in the first half due to foul trouble but made an impact in the second half scoring nine points including 3-5 from the field in the win.
“He’s a tough matchup right now, he’s playing really well and its something we’ve been expecting from him,” Barnes said. “He’s been really good for us in conference play, I was just excited to see other guys hang in there and play well for us.”
After allowing GCU to shoot 46% in the first half (11-24) from the field and 42% from three-point range (5-12) the ‘Runners defense held the ‘Lopes to just 35% shooting in the second half (10-29) and a mere 1-10 from three-point range.
Basile led the Roadrunners with 14 points while shooting 4-9 from the field and 2-3 from three-point range. Smith and Brent Wrapp each added 11 point including Wrapp’s team-high seven rebounds. Damiyne Durham added nine for CSUB and Briggs scored eight off the bench as well.
Josh Braun led GCU with 16 points on 5-11 from the field and 2-6 from three-point range.
The Roadrunners improved to 6-1 in the first half of WAC play, one game behind NM State who comes to the Icardo Center on Thursday night. Tickets will sell out for this game and fans are encouraged to purchase early by calling 654-BLUE or going online to GoRunners.com/tix.