Heading into the locker room for halftime, Cal State Bakersfield head coach Rod Barnes knew his team was “living on borrowed time.”
Utah Valley had hit 54.5 percent of its shots and was 5-of-10 from 3-point territory. The Roadrunners were down only four points because of an 8-0 run in the last minute before the break.
As was the case the first time around, Utah Valley dominated CSUB with a strong second half. The Wolverines (20-8, 9-3 Western Athletic) took down the Roadrunners (11-16, 4-8), 70-47, in the Icardo Center on Thursday. UVU outscored CSUB by 19 in the second half.
“They’re a good basketball team,” Barnes said. “They were just the better team tonight. It was an offensive team against a defensive team and their offense was much better than our defense.”
Utah Valley’s Conner Toolson scored a game-high 22 points on five 3-pointers. Kenneth Ogbe had 14 for the Wolverines and made four 3s. UVU went 12-for-26 from behind the arc in the game. CSUB was 3-for-17.
It was a similar script to the first meeting between the teams on Jan. 6. Utah Valley took a one-point lead at the half and expanded it to a 33-point win. The Wolverines made nine 3s to CSUB’s two in that one.
“They got in transition and they're not a team that runs to get two points,” Barnes said Thursday. “They run to get three. They’re a high-scoring team.”
Utah Valley sprinted out to a 20-2 run in the second half that included 15 straight points for the Wolverines. UVU made four 3-pointers during the run and CSUB hit just one shot.
The Roadrunners tried to get to the basket for layups but the trips ended in misses or blocks. They crashed for offensive rebounds, giving UVU odd-man opportunities the other way for quick 3s.
“I just told our guys, ‘They're gonna make shots,’” Barnes said. “‘They shoot the 3 a lot. Don't get discouraged because they're gonna make a couple of shots. We just gotta keep playing.’ We had time tonight where I thought we got discouraged there in the second half.”
“We started taking some chances on defense and trying to do a little too much selfish stuff on offense,” CSUB guard Brent Wrapp said. “... It kind of snowballed from there.”
CSUB center Fallou Ndoye racked up four fouls in his first eight minutes of action. Damiyne Durham went 1-for-9 from the field and 0-for-5 from 3-point. CSUB had one fewer fouls (17) than rebounds (18).
With two games left in the regular season, CSUB sits at seventh place (out of eight teams) in the WAC. Utah Valley is in second place in the league standings. If nothing changes, the two teams will meet again in the first round of the WAC Tournament.
“That’s OK,” Barnes said at the thought of playing UVU in the first round. “We’ll get to Vegas and we’ll see what happens. When we get there, we won’t worry about what has happened in the last couple games.”