DeMonte Buckingham

DeMonte Buckingham looks to dish the ball during a game this season.

Western Athletic Conference play is now underway here in Bakersfield and the CSUB men’s basketball team is looking for victory.

The Roadrunners are heading into conference play full force after a challenging and eventful preseason schedule, and they are embracing the program’s Make Your Mark mantra with total buy-in for their final season as members of the WAC. The Roadrunners’ first conference matchup was on Saturday against WAC rival Grand Canyon and it proved to be quite the show with the Roadrunners coming back from a 12-point deficit to eventually come out on top, winning 69-62.

While this victory was nothing short of a team effort, there were a couple key players who played a huge role in carrying the team back from their deficit and coming out on top. Junior guard De’Monte Buckingham, a transfer from the University of Richmond, came off of an up-and-down preseason after battling injuries to score 25-points and lead the team to a win over the Lopes. Buckingham, who transferred from a larger Atlantic 10 Conference, was quoted at the beginning of his CSUB career saying that he projected himself to be one of the most impactful players in his new conference and he expected for his name to be in the conversation for conference player of the year.

He has very high expectations for himself and the impact that he expects to have not only on his team but on the conference as well. While this confident projection came very early from the junior, he made his mark with an outstanding and memorable season-high performance to start off league play.

Another standout performance came from junior guard Taze Moore, who contributed 15 points to the team’s victory on Saturday and he put together yet another insanely athletic showing for the 2,500-plus fans lucky enough to witness it in person. It is no secret that Moore has battled back from what could have been career-ending injuries, but it is truly remarkable to see his athleticism in action. His monstrous dunks and high-flying shot blocking are a regular occurrence. Moore remains the team’s leading scorer and a clear leader for the Roadrunners, and with Buckingham really filling into his role as a go-to man on the team, this season is sure to be an exciting one.

Fans, it is clear that the Riadrunners mean business and with the conference slate underway, you will not want to miss a single matchup on the blue Kern Schools Court. The next opportunity to catch CSUB in action will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Icardo Center. The Roadrunners will take on California Baptist and we need you here to cheer CSUB on to another home victory. Don’t miss a single conference game with a season ticket package or single game tickets available online.

Bakersfield, we need you to Make Your Mark. For more information about ticket options contact us at 661-654-BLUE. This Wednesday’s 661 Game features discounted tickets for just $6.61 when purchased ahead of time at GoRunners.com/tickets.

Kenza Hall is an athletics marketing graduate assistant at Cal State Bakersfield University.

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