Cal State Bakersfield head coach Greg McCall isn’t one to dwell on the importance of one game. Every game is huge, McCall likes to say.
“This is one of the big ones,” McCall said of CSUB’s impending matchup with New Mexico State on Thursday night. And in this case, big meant even bigger than huge.
CSUB is second in the Western Athletic Conference at 6-2. New Mexico State is in first place with a conference record of 6-1. The Roadrunners and Aggies meet Thursday in the Icardo Center at 7 p.m.
A win would put CSUB in first place in the WAC with about one month until the conference tournament.
“One versus two,” McCall said. “It gives us an opportunity to put ourselves in the first place position and keep it rolling.
The Roadrunners are on a conference-best four-game win streak. One of their two losses, though, came against the Aggies.
CSUB held a one-point lead with 3:58 to go on Jan. 13 but fell, 56-48. The Roadrunners led for more than 28 minutes in the game, yet did not score for the final 3:58.
“We’ve been waiting on this game because we feel we didn't play to our best ability the first game,” CSUB guard Aja Williams said, “and we went back and reviewed and saw the little things we could have fixed ourselves.”
The little things were getting into the offensive sets too slowly and not coming hard off screens, she said. CSUB should have looked into the post more and gotten back on defense to stop transition plays, Williams said.
CSUB shot 29.2 percent from the field in the game and 16.7 percent from 3-point.
“We took some crazy looking shots here and there toward the fourth quarter that kind of hurt ourselves as far as poor execution,” McCall added. “We just gotta do things the right way.”