James Suber’s career performance wasn’t enough to lift Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday afternoon.
Suber scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, but CSUB’s second-half rally fell short in the team’s 68-56 loss at the University of South Dakota.
CSUB (3-4) trailed by as many as 17 early on, managed to cut the deficit to five in the second half, but couldn’t get over the hump in Vermillion, SD.
“We didn’t play very hard in the first half,” CSUB head coach Rod Barnes said. “I don’t know whether travel had something to do with it or we just didn’t do a good job. In the second half, I thought we were stronger. We had dug a big hole for ourselves. Even though we made a valiant comeback…we can’t come on the road and play the way we did in the first half and expect to win.”
South Dakota (4-3) used a 13-2 run in the middle of the first half to take a 20-9 lead. The Coyotes extended the lead to 35-21 at halftime, as the Roadrunners continued to struggle on the offensive end of the floor.
Defense sparked an 8-2 run for CSUB coming out of the locker room, as the team cut the Coyotes lead to single digits, 40-31. Suber, a redshirt senior out of Philadelphia, was a catalyst during the run, blocking two shots, pulling down five rebounds and scoring four points. The Roadrunners drew within five points after a Suber block led to a bucket on the other end for junior Kevin McNeal with just under 12 minutes left in the contest.
USD ballooned its lead to 14 points again, 57-43, with just under six minutes remaining. The Roadrunners maintained pace with their hosts, but were unable to close the gap. Free throws proved to be a determining factor, as CSUB converted 8-of-11 (72.7%) from the charity stripe, but USD got to the line 31 times and hit 26 attempts.
The Roadrunners will be back in action Tuesday when they return to the Icardo Center for the first time in nearly a month, hosting UC Merced at 7 p.m.