With 44 seconds remaining in a Nov. 8 game against South Dakota State, the Cal State Bakersfield men's basketball team witnessed the beginning of what's become an undesirable trend.
Less than a minute from escaping the Icardo Center with a win and a 2-0 record, the Roadrunners caught a bad break as a Baylor Scheierman 3-pointer bounced off the front of the rim and into the basket, tying the score at 70 and forcing overtime.
From there, a 3-point onslaught — the Jackrabbits shot 5-of-8 from behind the arc in two overtime periods to win 93-91 — by opposing teams began and has yet to slow down two weeks later.
Since Scheierman's basket, Division I opponents have made 37-of-69 attempts (53.6 percent) from behind the 3-point line against CSUB. For the season, the Roadrunners have allowed teams to shoot at 42 percent clip from behind the arc, which ranks 341st in the nation.
Entering Saturday, only three teams have allowed more than the 58 3-pointers surrendered by the Roadrunners this season.
Playing for a defensive-minded coach like Rod Barnes, players admit recent film sessions haven't been fun, as they try to smooth over communication issues that have often left shooters with clean looks on the perimeter.
"We're a defensive team...and after these past few losses, we realize we weren't that we weren't focused and we weren't listening as much as we need to," guard Taze Moore said. "We haven't been as detailed as we need to be."
The struggles reached a peak Tuesday, when San Francisco shot an astonishing 76 percent (19-of-25) from deep en route to a 100-70 blowout of CSUB.
"We broke down and it just kept going," Moore said of the loss that dropped his team to 2-3. "They kept making runs and they kept putting their foot on our necks."
While Moore remains confident they can turn things around, the Roadrunners' next opponent won't exactly make things easier.
Awaiting Saturday is a trip to Spokane, Wash. to face unbeaten, eighth-ranked Gonzaga. The Bulldogs hit 10 3-pointers and shot better than 50 percent from the floor in an 89-54 win over the Roadrunners last December.
A prolific Gonzaga offense, which entered Friday ranked sixth in the country averaging 90.6 points per game, got a boost this week with the return of forward Killian Tillie. Playing for the first time since offseason knee surgery, Tillie had 15 points and eight rebounds in a 72-66 win over Texas Arlington.
Looking to stop the bleeding after a rough stretch, Moore says he and his teammates aren't putting any extra attention to arguably their most difficult game of the year, hoping it will help kick-start some needed improvements on defense.
"It’s really no big difference from any other game that we go into," he said. "I guess people see it like that because it’s Gonzaga and they have a bigger name. But it’s just another game in my eyes and I feel like it’s the same way in my teammates’ eyes that we just need to be more strict on ourselves more than any other game we’ve been in.”