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Felix Adamo/ The Californian

Brandon Barnes is a 6-foot-1 starter at small forward.

Don't expect a 43-point blowout tonight.

After romping past outclassed NAIA-member UC Merced in Monday's home opener, Cal State Bakersfield faces Sacramento State, which also opened its season routing an inferior opponent and dominated the Roadrunners a year ago.

"Last year they blew us out," CSUB coach Rod Barnes said of Sacramento's 85-67 win in the Hornets Nest. "It's not a revenge thing, but we're not a team that is getting blown out a bunch of times."

This could be a milestone night for the Roadrunners. The program has 799 wins since it began play in the 1971-72 season.

CSUB dominated Merced 97-54. Sacramento's only game was a 73-43 win last Friday over UC Santa Cruz, an NCAA Division III (non-scholarship) program.

One significant difference from last year's Roadrunner team and this year's is improved guard play. Barnes hopes that will be evident tonight.

"Hopefully our guards can compete with their guards," Barnes said. "Hopefully our depth and big guys can be the difference in the game."

Guard play was the difference last season.

Sacramento's returning backcourt starters, Dylan Garrity and Mikh McKinney, scored 21 and 23 points, respectively, in that matchup. Garrity, a 6-foot-2 junior guard, was an honorable mention All-Big Sky Conference pick last season. His 21 points vs. CSUB last year was one below his career high. He averaged 11.6 points and 5.1 assists last season.

McKinney is 6-1 and explosive. He had 14 points in 19 minutes against Santa Cruz on Friday.

CSUB will counter with Issiah Grayson, who missed last season with an injury; Zach Lamb, who played in the Sacramento game a year ago but suffered a season-ending ankle injury shortly after that, newcomer Tyrell Corbin and returnee Javonte Maynor.

The Roadrunner inside game features one returnee who played extensively, 6-7 forward Corey Hall, and newcomers Abdul Ahmed (6-10) and Zech Smith (6-11). Erik Kinney (6-4), who played sparingly last season, has improved dramatically and is part of the playing rotation.

Returning starter Brandon Barnes is only 6-1 but had a game-high 13 rebounds against Merced.

Rod Barnes said the goal is to wear Sacramento down. "We think we can go a lot of different ways at them," he said.

"We owe them one," said Grayson. "They put it on us pretty good. They probably won't respect us because they beat us by about 20 last year."


CSUB's all-time men's basketball won-loss record: 799-422. ... This is the second of four straight home games for CSUB. Next Monday Nevada plays CSUB in Rabobank Arena and Idaho State comes to the Icardo Center on Nov. 23. ... Rod Barnes said after Monday's game that freshman guard Brent Wrapp from Colorado and sophomore guard Jaylin Airington from East Chicago, Ind., will redshirt this year, joining Long Beach State transfer Deng Deng who is already sitting out as a redshirt per NCAA transfer rules. CSUB is waiting to learn whether 6-9 Aly Ahmed from Egypt will be cleared to play by the NCAA. There's a transcript question that is further complicated because Ahmed is an international student, Barnes said. Ahmed is a 6-9 sophomore center. If he must sit out this season, he'll lose the year and have only two seasons of eligibility remaining, Barnes said.