Cal State Bakersfield players Justin Edler-Davis and Jarkel Joiner were looking forward to Saturday’s game against Texas-Rio Grande Valley to put what happened against New Mexico State on Thursday behind them.
But the UTRGV game was just more of the same. Again, the Roadrunners had a late double-digit lead. Again, they let it slip away in regulation before losing in overtime.
“After the New Mexico State game, we felt like we wanted to come out play hard, grow up a little bit,” Edler-Davis said. “I felt like we did that in spurts. We just had another let down. That’s something that we got to fix. It’s just very tough.”
Saturday’s version was a 79-74 overtime loss to UTRGV. The Vaqueros (14-12, 6-3 Western Athletic) ended regulation on a 10-0 run over the final four and a half minutes, hitting four of their seven chances from the free throw line. CSUB (15-9, 6-4 Western Athletic) missed all five of its field goals during that run and got to the line for just two attempts.
In the game, there were 62 fouls called and the two teams combined for 75 attempts from the foul line.
“It’s tough to get in a flow,” Joiner said of the calls.
UTRGV scored six of its 11 points in overtime from the free throw line. Vaqueros guard Javon Levi got to the line ball quick in transition to draw a foul on CSUB’s Taze Moore. Levi hit both free throws for the 70-68 lead.
A UTRGV layup inside gave it a four-point lead before Edler-Davis made two free throws in two separate trips to the line. Then Vaqueros guard Jordan Jackson made a 3-pointer for the 75-70 lead.
“Once the score got close, since we were in foul trouble, I thought it affected us more than it affected them,” CSUB head coach Rod Barnes said.
CSUB players Rickey Holden and Darius Williams fouled out. James Suber and Joiner each had four and CSUB intentionally fouled just once. Holden, the team’s point guard, fouled out with more than three minutes left in regulation.
With a tie game and a minute left in regulation, CSUB had the ball. Joiner took it from the top to the left side inside the arc, trying to pull up for a jumper as the ball was swatted away. Immediately, Barnes and assistant coach Jeff Conarroe began screaming and jumping off the bench.
UTRGV called timeout with 36.4 seconds left and 23 seconds left on the shot clock. That let Barnes storm down past half court to air his grievances to the official. Conarroe face was bright red.
On the possession, UTRGV’s Terry Winn III drove baseline but dropped his shoulder into Edler-Davis for the offensive foul.
With 17.9 seconds left coming out of a timeout, the Roadrunners had a chance to win it. Joiner’s floater from the right side hit off the backboard and rim.
“We didn’t do what it takes to win the game,” Barnes said. “... We got to close out the game.”
The Roadrunners had a 17-point lead in the first half. Holden, who did not start Thursday after not practicing all week because of a thumb injury, scored 12 points in 12 minutes in the first half. But he didn’t score in the second half.
CSUB has lost three straight games, all of which came at home. UTRGV beat first place Grand Canyon on the road on Thursday before toppling the Roadrunners.
“We were not as smart as we needed to be,” Barnes said. “We were not as aggressive as we needed to be.”