CSU BAKERSFIELD (19-7, 10-1 WAC) vs. UMKC (15-13, 7-4 WAC)
|Points Per Game||72.9||77.5|
|Field Goal Pct.||.453||.441|
|3-point FG Pct.||.349||.376|
|Free throw Pct.||.609||.718|
|Rebounds Per Game||38.8||34.4|
|Assists Per Game||15.0||13.2|
|Turnovers Per Game||15.0||14.4|
|Steals Per Game||8.4||6.7|
|Blocks Per Game||3.5||2.7|
BAKERSFIELD, Calif.- With three regular-season games remaining in Western Athletic Conference play the CSUB Roadrunners (19-7, 10-1 WAC) are looking to clinch their first-ever regular-season men’s basketball championship with a three-game home stand starting Thursday night vs. UMKC (15-13, 7-4 WAC).
This meeting pits the hottest two teams in the WAC against one another as the ‘Roos have won five-straight games second only to the eight-game winning streak currently by CSUB. The Roadrunners are also 10-0 at home this season and are in the midst of a 15-game winning streak at the Icardo Center dating back to January of 2016. The ‘Roos are 3-7 on the road this season with four of their five games during their winning streak coming in Kansas City, their lone road win was a 73-60 come-from-behind effort at UT Rio Grande Valley.
“They’re one of the hottest teams right now in terms of the way they are playing,” said head coach Rod Barnes. “They’ve improved so much, they started out strong and fell off a bit before conference play but now they’re back and we’ve got to be ready.”
Bakersfield won the first meeting of the season in Kansas City 74-63 behind 18 points from Matt Smith and 14 points for Shon Briggs. CSUB forced 23 turnovers in the win scoring 30 points as a result.
The meeting also features the WAC’s top three-point shooting team in UMKC (37.6%) and the league’s best defensive team in the Roadrunners who are allowing just 62.9 points per game this season while also allowing opponents to shoot just 38% from the field, both top marks in the WAC. The Roadrunners also rank 6th in the NCAA in field goal defense (38%), 16th in points allowed, 15th in steals per game (8.5), and 7th in turnovers forced per game (17).
The Roadrunners concluded the road portion of their WAC schedule with wins at Utah Valley and Seattle U last week, bringing the conference road record to 6-1. They remain atop the WAC standings with a one-game lead with three games remaining.
CSUB continues to be very-balanced offensively with Jaylin Airington leading the scoring with 14.4 ppg, he’s joined by Damiyne Durham’s 13.8 points per contest while both Dedrick Basile and Matt Smith are adding nearly 12 per game for the Roadrunners. Smith is also averaging 15 ppg and shooting over 60% from the field in conference games.
UMKC is led by Lavell Boyd’s 18 ppg while Kyle Steward is adding 11 per contest for the ‘Roos. Steward is averaging nearly 20 ppg during the ‘Roos five-game winning streak. He scored 19 points going 7-9 from their field in their most-recent win over Chicago State last week. He had 14 in the loss to CSUB back in January.
Thursday’s game can be heard on Newstalk 1180/96.1 FM KERN beginning at 6:30 with the Dignity Health Pregame Show. Live video will also be available through the WAC Digital Network at wacsports.com/live. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 P.M.
Due to increased demand for tickets for Thursday's game and Saturday's 'Homecoming' game vs. Chicago State, the Icardo Center box office is open for advanced purchases all week from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. and from 9 A.M. to game time on game days. Fans can also call 654-BLUE for purchases.