Happy, tired, and relieved. Those were the three words Cal State Bakersfield men's basketball coach Rod Barnes used to describe his feelings after the Roadrunners earned their first win of the season Tuesday night.
After digging another deep first-half hole, CSUB escaped with a 77-74 victory over Westmont College at the Icardo Center.
Playing catch-up for nearly the entire game, CSUB (1-4), led by the hot outside shooting of Tyrone White, waited until late to gain control.
The 'Runners led only one time briefly, before Brandon Barnes' 3-pointer from the top of the key put them up for good with 1:24 remaining in the game.
"I was hoping we would just get the win," Barnes said. "I didn't care whether it was at he buzzer or whatever. I kept saying 'Hey Lord if we have to shoot a 3 to win it, I just want to get out of here today with a win.'"
While the game counted as a win for CSUB, it goes down as an exhibition loss for Westmont, an NAIA school.
White led CSUB with 28 points. The 6-foot-7 forward was 7-for-10 from behind the arc and also had a team-high eight rebounds.
"We'll take a win anyway we can get it," White said. "... Now we have some momentum going forward. We should be good for the rest of the season."
Brandon Barnes, who made several other key shots down the stretch for the 'Runners, added 24 points and five rebounds. He admitted being nervous as the game wound down.
"But we had to dig in," he said. "We couldn't lose again on our home floor."
The win came with a price for CSUB as starting point guard Zach Lamb crumpled to floor with an apparent right ankle injury early in the second half and had to be carried off the court.
The severity of Lamb's injury wasn't immediately known.
Preston Branson had 22 points and Christopher Miller chipped in 17 points and 10 rebounds for Westmont, which shot 51 percent from the field. The 'Runners shot 41.5 percent on their home court.
Former Bakersfield High and Bakersfield College player Cooper Damron was the Warriors third-leading scorer with 14 points.
The 6-foot-6 senior forward made his first three field goal attempts, including a quick transition basket inside that gave Westmont an early 10-4 lead.
"It's fun to be back," said Damron, who fouled out with 50.6 seconds left. "You watch teams play here your whole life growing up. ... I wish we could have come away with a win.
Westmont (4-1), ranked No. 8 in the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll, led by as many as 12 in the first half.
CSUB struggled early on against the Warriors' zone defense, making only 3 of its first 15 shots..
The 'Runners' offensive woes continued until White came off the bench and connected on three 3-pointers over the final 3:02 of the first half, including a long bomb from well beyond the top of the key just before the first-half clock expired.
"It's really not me," White said of his big night. "It's my teammates. You go over the gameplan. Their screens, the passes, everything. It's the little things that you don't look at. It's not the shots."