Taze Moore and his teammates didn't spend much time trying to determine what their identity would be for the 2020-21 season.
"We wanted to be able to make stops throughout the game, hold people to 50 points and get a whole bunch of rebounds," said Moore, a redshirt senior forward on the Cal State Bakersfield men's basketball team.
Though there have been hiccups with the first goal early in the season, stops were easier to come by for the defense during a pair of games against Cal Poly over the weekend. After allowing 49 points to the Mustangs on Friday, the Roadrunners surrendered just 50 in a rematch Saturday en route to a pair of wins that upped their record to 3-1 in Big West play.
As for the "get a whole bunch of rebounds goal," well that's been achieved with far more consistency.
Through 11 games, CSUB (7-4), has held held a rebounding edge over nine of its opponents.
The Roadrunners entered Monday with a rebound differential of plus-11.8, the fifth best mark in the country. They've held a double-digit advantage on the glass in six of those games and had a stretch of three-consecutive games where they out-rebounded their opponents by more than 20.
Things have been particularly good on the offensive glass. The Roadrunners are pulling down 15.91 offensive rebounds per game, the second-best mark in the entire country. Playing the same number of games, leader North Carolina has one more offensive rebound (176-175), than CSUB.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the rebounding run is that the 'Runners are doing it without any truly dominant players inside. Ten players are averaging at least 2.4 boards a game, while Ronne Readus (6.1) is the only one pulling down more than five a contest.
"That's our identity," center Shawn Stith said after Friday's win over Cal Poly. "Teams expect us to do certain things and we can't let them down. When they play us, they've got to expect ... we're going to hit the glass. We've just got to give them what they expected."
The expectation inside the locker room is that such performances will continue to be the norm for the rest of the season.
"This is the one year I feel like it's all coming along," Moore said. "The coaches are pushing us to go rebound because we’re probably the most athletic group we’ve had since I’ve been here. For us to be as athletic as we are and not to get rebounds, that would be a problem for us.”
'Runner women return with road upset
Even getting on the floor during a difficult 2020-21 season has been a win for the CSUB women's basketball team, and the challenges have made results like the one the 'Runners got Sunday feel all the more special.
Having lost four straight coming in, CSUB rode a balanced scoring attack to an 81-69 win over defending Mountain West regular season champion Fresno State Sunday.
Lexus Green finished with 14 points and six assists, while Jayden Eggleston recorded a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double. All told, four CSUB players scored in double figures, with seven players recording at least six points.
The 'Runners pulled away with a 23-point fourth quarter, kick-started by 3-pointers by Andie Easley and Green on consecutive possessions. Easley hit three triples in the fourth quarter and the Roadrunners closed things out with seven consecutive made free throws.
The game was originally scheduled to be played on Dec. 17 and was made up after CSUB had a pair of conference games against Cal Poly canceled over the weekend.
Both the men and women will face Hawaii this coming weekend. The men travel to face the Warriors while the women will host them at 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.