FRESNO — Cal State Bakersfield forward Shon Briggs made a power dribble and shoulder shake move inside. He put up the layup that fell through the net with contact, sending the CSUB bench into a frenzy as the Roadrunners cut the Fresno State lead to 10.
Briggs puffed out his chest as Fresno State’s Sam Bittner took the walk of shame to the bench after fouling out. He thought it would be turning point.
But Briggs missed the ensuing free throw and that was the closest CSUB could get. The 16-1 run that Fresno State (7-2) started the second half with was too much to overcome, as the Roadrunners (4-6) lost, 70-55, at the Save Mart Center on Tuesday night. The 10-0 run that the Bulldogs answered Briggs’ basket with turned the game into a lopsided CSUB loss.
“The first 20 minutes was our way,” CSUB head coach Rod Barnes said. “The second half 20 minutes was their way. Because the second halves are the ones that determine the winners, that’s how they won the game.”
Fresno State got revenge for the beating it took at the Icardo Center a year ago when it lost 71-63 after trailing by as much as 22.
The loss marks the fourth in a row for CSUB.
Like at UCLA last week, the Roadrunners had a strong first half against a quality team. CSUB outrebounded the Bulldogs, 17-12, led for seven minutes and ended the half down 28-26. Briggs led the team with eight points and six rebounds midway through.
Then the Roadrunners didn’t score their first points of the second half until more than five minutes in on a Briggs foul shot. By that time, CSUB was down 39-27.
Cal State Bakersfield’s first field goal of the second half was a Rickey Holden layup in transition after a Damiyne Durham steal on the press. CSUB trailed 44-31.
“We got to get the line and make the ref call a foul or something,” point guard Brent Wrapp said. “Get free throws, get some layups then it open things up.”
Durham, who can change the course of a game in just a few possessions with his 3-point shooting ability, played just 16 minutes because of a nagging knee injury that he aggravated while fouled on a 3-pointer.
He eventually told Barnes in the second half he couldn’t go anymore.
“Anytime we’re missing (Durham), it’s missing a lot of firepower,” Wrapp said. “Someone else’s gotta step up. You can’t always depend on dam to hit a shot for us.”
Briggs had 13 points and freshman Jarkel Joiner added 10. The Roadrunners shot just 28.6 percent in the second half.
“In crucial times when you're on the road, you got make free throws when you need to make them,” Barnes said. “You got to make layups when you have them. Then you got to make open shots. … Right now, we’re not doing that.”
On the other end, Fresno State came out of the half with three straight layups. The Bulldogs took advantage of being in the bonus just six minutes into the half, hitting 21-of-26 second-half free throws. Fresno State shot just four free throws in the first half.
Five Bulldogs reached double figures, led by Deshon Taylor’s 19 points.
Briggs attributed the negative runs to small mental mistakes that compounded into a bigger problem.
Fresno State has won eight of the last nine meetings between the two teams and is 6-0 against CSUB at the Save Mart Center.
“They know how to win,” Barnes said this year’s Fresno State team. “(That’s) something we got to learn to do. We’re getting better at it, but we’re not good enough at it right now.”