Somewhere at the bottom of a halfcourt pile of Cal State Bakersfield men’s basketball players was CSUB redshirt sophomore forward Taze Moore.
Justin Edler-Davis’ headband was partially coming off his head and partially covering one of his eyes. CSUB’s De’Monte Buckingham, not eligible this season, ran into an official trying to go celebrate. Bray Barnes, a Roadrunners redshirt senior forward and son of head coach Rod Barnes, had the wherewithal to ask an official if he needed the team off the court to review the play. The official did.
As the party continued over to the CSUB bench, it took the officials only a few seconds to confirm that Moore’s shot left his hand fractions of a second before time ran out, hitting off the backboard and falling through the cylinder.
The buzzer-beater gave CSUB (10-5, 2-0 Western Athletic) a 73-71 win over Utah Valley (11-6, 0-2) in the Icardo Center on Saturday night. It capped a weekend of two big wins for the Roadrunners over teams (including Seattle) picked ahead of them in the WAC preseason polls.
“He made the play,” Rod Barnes said of Moore. “I can’t take any credit for that. It’s my job to try to put him in the right position. He was the one that made the play. It’s no surprise.”
With 4.3 seconds left, CSUB inbounded the ball from underneath the basket on the offensive end of the floor. Roadrunners guard Jarkel Joiner came off two screens to get the inbounds from Rickey Holden.
Joiner’s 3-pointer from the corner in front of the CSUB bench hit off the rim. Roadrunners forward Darrin Person Jr. fought for position under the net. Justin Edler-Davis came from behind to tip the ball off the bottom of the rim. The ball hit off the floor before Moore scooped it up and faded away for a left-handed bucket from the right low block.
“When Justin (Edler-)Davis tipped it I was kind of in the back of everybody and I kind of saw where it was going,” Moore said. “I think I’m good at. … I kind of knew where it was going and I just shot it.”
Before that, the Roadrunners had to get a little lucky. CSUB had possession with 18.1 seconds left in a 71-71 game. The shot clock was off. Barnes wanted a play for Holden to take a 3, but the point guard initiated the play too quickly. It ended with an Edler-Davis missed 3 with 4.3 seconds left.
Utah Valley got the rebound and called timeout. UVU’s Benjamin Nakwaasah inbounded the ball with the entire court to go for a basket. He tried a lob pass that hit off the back of the backboard, which is out of bounds.
The turnover gave the Roadrunners the ball.
“There has been so many games in my career that strange things have happened and it cost us the game …,” Barnes said. “I just think if you keep putting yourself in position to win, it’ll turn your way. And when the ball went out, I said, ‘OK, we got a chance.’
“I didn't want to go into overtime. I told our guys we’re gonna put it on the glass and we’re gonna find out do they want to box out or not? Taze finished. You just kind of smile when those kind of things happen.”
Moore finished the game with 16 points. Holden also scored 16, knocking down four 3-pointers and adding six assists.
“His jumping ability, he’s got great instincts, great hands for the ball,” Holden said of Moore. “He knows where the ball is going and everything. It was a good shot by Taze. We know Taze can make them type of plays.”