The 2017-18 season hasn’t been kind to Cal State Bakersfield in terms of game results and injuries.
Sophomore forward Taze Moore broke his foot late last season as he emerged into a contributing role and has missed the entire year. Freshman forward Darrin Person Jr., who CSUB head coach Rod Barnes thought would be playing “a lot,” hasn’t played due to injury. Senior forward James Suber played six total minutes before having a procedure in December.
The latest — and possibly most critical — was an injury to starting forward Shon Briggs’ right foot on Feb. 3 that required surgery this week. He hasn’t been ruled out for the season, but the conference tournament starts in about four weeks.
The first game without Briggs at New Mexico State (21-3, 8-0 Western Athletic) on Thursday, turned into a 69-43 loss. The Roadrunners (10-14, 3-6) are hoping the second game — at Texas-Rio Grande Valley (13-12, 4-4) on Saturday at 5 p.m. — goes better.
“We gotta be prepared,” Barnes said on Tuesday. “We gotta step up. We’re not one to make excuses. It’s been a tough year for us injury wise.”
No one stepped up Thursday without the team’s third leading scorer and leading rebounder. Redshirt junior guard Damiyne Durham scored a team-high 11 points but shot 28.6 percent. New Mexico State’s Jemerrio Jones grabbed 20 boards by himself and NMSU had 15 more than CSUB.
Redshirt freshman forward Justin Davis started in Briggs’ place. Even before Briggs’ injury, some of the offensive focus on Briggs began to shift toward Davis. Redshirt freshman forward Greg Lee’s opportunity will grow, too, with Briggs out.
Davis led CSUB with 10 rebounds in the first meeting with UTRGV, but the Roadrunners lost, 87-74, at home.
CSUB was short handed in the loss to UTRGV with 3-point shooter Damiyne Durham suspended and point guard Brent Wrapp sick on the bench. Saturday, the Roadrunners will be missing a star again.
“We just gotta take what we got,” Barnes said Tuesday. “There’s no midseason trades and all this stuff that’s happening with the NBA right now. But we feel good about where we are.”
CSUB women’s basketball trying not to overlook anyone
The Roadrunners are the newest team at the top of the Western Athletic Conference after a 62-52 win over New Mexico State on Thursday. CSUB has won five straight games and is in the driver’s seat to win the conference regular season, as head coach Greg McCall verbalized his plan to do in January.
The next team that stands in the Roadrunners’ (13-10, 7-2 Western Athletic) way is Texas-Rio Grande Valley (11-12, 1-7). The Vaqueros head to the Icardo Center for a 1 p.m. game on Saturday.
“Just stay hungry,” McCall said. “Knowing that any day, any team, they’re gonna come playing hard so we’re just gonna continue to play hard.”
CSUB’s last loss came at home to Missouri-Kansas City on a shot with a few seconds left. The Roadrunners didn’t take the Kangaroos seriously, CSUB guard Jazmine Johnson said, and paid the price.
It took overtime for CSUB to take down UTRGV by just three points on Jan. 11.
“Just take one game at a time,” Johnson said. “Don’t overlook anybody and just keep preparing.”