A second-half resurgence and a lot of help by North Carolina A&T's woeful free throw shooting paid dividends for Cal State Bakersfield Sunday afternoon.
The Roadrunners posted a 60-52 win over A&T before 1,881 at Rabobank Arena, giving CSUB a much-needed win heading into a pair of rugged road games this week.
"Every win is important," said sophomore guard Javonte Maynor, who had a game-high 19 points with five 3-pointers for the Roadrunners (6-10).
"We're trying to get on a roll and get a lot of wins because right now we're really behind."
The team set a preseason goal of 20 wins after finishing 16-15 last season.
Next up is a Tuesday game at No. 16 San Diego State and a game at No. 20 UNLV on Saturday.
Sunday's win was CSUB's second in its last six games.
CSUB had to rally from a 30-23 halftime deficit.
It took control by outscoring the Aggies 29-9 in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
"I thought we got solid," CSUB coach Rod Barnes said. "Guys didn't gamble, we stayed between them and the basket and we rebounded well."
A&T (5-9) had a woeful free throw shooting game, hitting only 9-of-25, including 7-of-21 in the second half. A&T came into the game hitting 70 percent from the line this season.
"We went down and made our shots," Maynor said. "They came down and fortunately they missed their free throws."
It was CSUB's second game in less than 24 hours -- the Roadrunners lost 73-66 at Loyola Marymount Saturday night -- and CSUB looked lethargic at times, especially in the first half.
"We've got a bunch of tired guys now," Barnes said. "Starting last Saturday (Dec. 22), it's almost like it's been one game every other day."
Barnes said he felt fatigue was a factor in the dropoff from Saturday by guards Stephon Carter (18 points vs. LMU, seven Sunday) and his son Brandon Barnes (22 points vs. LMU, five Sunday).
"I thought Brandon and Stephon just ran out of gas," Rod Barnes said. "I thought Cory Hall stepped up. Matt Ratto played well and Javonte had a good game. And Tyrone (White) was a trooper today, coming back from injury so quickly and gave us quality minutes."
Hall had his CSUB career-best 13 rebounds. White had five points after not playing vs. LMU because of an ankle injury. Ratto hit a key 3-pointer and a short jump shot that helped CSUB's second-half momentum.
"My job is to rebound every game," said Hall, a transfer from Ventura College. "I have to understand this is Division I. It's not JC anymore. If I really want it, I have to take it.
"Tonight I had a big improvement and I want to keep going forward. Rebounding is one of the biggest keys to winning the game."
A&T's free throw problems helped keep the Aggies from responding to the Roadrunners' second-half surge. A&T didn't reach 10 second-half points until only 4:53 remained.
A&T did mount a late comeback, trimming what had been a 13-point CSUB lead to six with 2:01 left.
But a turnover and two missed 3s on A&T's next three possessions ended the comeback bid.
The next two games will be a challenge but exciting, Maynor and Hall said.
"This is what I signed up for, to play these good teams," Maynor said.
"I've never experienced a huge crowd, which is what I expect it to be," Hall said.