Hoping to ride its excellent depth to a Big West title, the Cal State Bakersfield men's basketball team's rotation will likely be one man short the rest of the way.
On Tuesday, Roadrunner coach Rod Barnes said X-rays revealed that senior center Shawn Stith had sustained a torn ACL. Though seeking a second opinion, Barnes says the team "took it as, probably, he's not going to be back with us" for the rest of the season.
Stith, who's started 16 of the Roadrunners' 23 games this season, was averaging 7.3 points and 3.5 rebounds. He sustained the non-contact injury in 71-66 loss at UC Santa Barbara on Friday, falling to the floor in pain after a shot attempt in the paint.
"He's not only a very good player for us, (he's) very meaningful to this group of guys," Barnes said of Stith. "He's one of those guys that's connected to every one of our players. You just always hate to see kids get hurt, especially this late in the season."
Senior Ronne Readus, who leads the team in rebounds and blocked shots, will now look to replace Stith's lost scoring output. Readus averages 4.2 points per game, but averaged 9 in the series against Santa Barbara last weekend.
Barnes will also look to give more minutes to reserves Ray Somerville and Jack Schoemann, but believes they can gel with a well-established rotation that still runs 10-players deep.
The new-look Roadrunners (14-9, 8-6) will look to find their footing in the regular-season finale this weekend, when they host a pair of games against CSU Northridge (8-9, 4-6).
"The rest of the team is still in tact," Barnes said. "Obviously Shawn is a loss but I’m not discouraged to think we can’t win both games this weekend. And (I wouldn’t be) surprised if we would win the Big West Tournament. I just think we’ve got enough people, I think we’ve got enough depth. Obviously we’re going to have to have some guys that step up. But I’m confident they can and hopefully they will do that.”
One key piece Barnes expects to have back soon is leading scorer Taze Moore, who returned to practice Monday after missing the Santa Barbara series with an illness. The 'Runners went 0-2 in his absence.
"I don't think he's quite himself," Barnes said of Moore. "It took a lot out of him as far as the sickness ... but I would expect him to be back this weekend to play."
Friday and Saturday games at the Icardo Center tip off at 7 p.m.
CSUB women out of action for two weeks
Already set to be done with the regular season, the CSUB women's team can't even return to the practice court following another COVID-19 outbreak amongst the team.
The Roadrunners, who canceled a Saturday game against UC Santa Barbara "as a result of university and department wide health and safety protocols," must go into quarantine for two weeks. It's the second time the team has had to enforce such protocols this season.
“You kind of know that it can always happen again," coach Greg McCall told reporters Tuesday. "You just try to prepare the best way you possibly can to not allow it to happen. (Our players have) done everything in their power to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And it just did.”
The Roadrunners, who are currently in fifth place in the Big West, would either return to the court on March 9 or 10 for the first round of the conference tournament. Already set to enter the postseason on at least an 18-day layoff from game action, an inability to practice further complicates things.
Though he acknowledges the situation is far from ideal, McCall says his focus is getting everybody healthy, and hopes all other matters take care of themselves.
"We'll be ready to go for the tournament," he said.
Roadrunner wrestlers gearing up for Pac-12 tournament
Out of action for a month, the CSUB wrestling team is still planning to compete at this weekend's Pac-12 Tournament, and will have a chance to tune up beforehand.
On Wednesday, the Roadrunners will travel to Cal Poly for a series of individual matches to help competitors improve their conditioning before the conference championship in Corvallis, Ore., which begins at 3 p.m. Sunday. The match at Poly will not be counted as an official dual.
The Roadrunners have competed in just two duals this season, both of which came on Jan. 24. Team activities were suspended on Feb. 5 "as a result of university and department-wide COVID safety protocols."