FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Colorado State couldn’t slow down Cal State Bakersfield’s hot first half and fell to the visitors, 81-63, in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament, March 20. With the loss, the Rams ended their season at 24-12, while the Roadrunners improved to 24-9 and advanced to play UT-Arlington in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
CSU Bakersfield never trailed in the game after opening on a 13-2 run over the first five minutes of the contest, capped by Damiyne Durham’s three-pointer. Colorado State answered with a 10-0 spurt, with sophomore guard Prentiss Nixon scoring six of the points, closing the gap to 13-12 with 11:44 to play in the opening half. From there, the Roadrunners built their lead steadily over the remainder of the half, including a 10-0 run late in the half, and the visitors headed into the locker room with a 52-32 halftime lead. The Rams continued to battle in the second half, but couldn’t get the buckets to fall and got no closer than 16 the rest of the way as CSUB was up by as many as 26 in the game.
Colorado State shot just 34 percent (20-of-58) from the floor for the game, including a paltry 23 percent (6-of-26) from the three-point arc. CSU Bakersfield was solid overall at 48 percent (28-of-58) on field goal attempts and an even better 57.9 percent (11-of-19) on three pointers. CSU had a slight advantage on the glass in the contest, 39-33.
Senior guard Gian Clavell led the Rams with 21 points and eight rebounds, while Nixon added 15 as the only two CSU players in double figures. Redshirt-freshman center Nico Carvacho posted a season-high 13 rebounds in the game. CSU Bakersfield had four players in double figures, led by Jailyn Airington with 19 points. Dedrick Basile and Shon Briggs chipped in 17 and 15, respectively.
IN THEIR WORDS
Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy
(on tonight’s game)
“Unfortunately we ran into a freight train today. Towards the end of the game, I was asking Willie Glover who would have beat this team tonight."
(on this year’s team)
"I will always remember this team as one of the most special teams I have ever had. You have seen some teams in those circumstances quit, and that is the last thing we are about, quitting."
Senior guard Gian Clavell
(on CSU Bakersfield's defense)
“Their defense is exceptional. They are a great defensive team and when they shoot the ball like that, you have to play them near perfect.”
(on the overall season)
“I will remember this season more just because all the adversity that we went through. A lot of teams would have folded, but we did not. Especially the way he (Larry Eustachy) leads us. I follow him and then I lead them. This was such a fun year for me and I did not want it to stop. I love this team more than anything.”
Sophomore guard Prentiss Nixon
(on playing with Gian Clavell and Emmanuel Omogbo)
“I don’t want to stop playing with these guys; they are a great group of guys to play with, especially Gian and Emmanuel. I have learned so much over the last couple of years with them. I know they are not going to stop trying to teach me new ways to help build this team and become a leader of this team.”
CSU Bakersfield head coach Rod Barnes
(on his thoughts of the game)
“First of all, I always thank God for giving us the opportunity to play this game, coach this game and play here in the NIT against a very good team. I have a lot of respect for Coach Eustachy, his program, and what he has done here. I thought tonight was our best game overall this season. I thought we executed a game plan of what guys were doing and they were on point with that. We defended well, but the offensive and defensive combination was probably the best we have been this season and we needed it tonight.”
STAT OF THE GAME…
CSU Bakersfield was hot from the three-point arc in the first half, hitting 10-of-13 attempts (76.9 percent), a high mark for a team that came in shooting 33.8 percent on threes. The Roadrunners outscored CSU 30-9 on triples in the opening period, leading to their 20-point halftime lead.
• This was the final game in the college careers of seniors Gian Clavell and Emmanuel Omogbo, with Clavell ranking in the top 20 all-time scorers in just two seasons, while Omogbo ranks in the top-20 rebounders in CSU history.
• The 52 points given up by CSU in the first half were the most for any opponent in either half this season.
• Nixon finished the season with 37 drawn offensive fouls in 36 games this season. He now has 56 in his two-year career.
• CSU completed the season with 15 home wins, tied for the second most in Moby Arena history.
• The Rams are now 7-9 all-time in the NIT, completing their ninth appearance in the tournament.
• The four assists tied a season-low for CSU.
• The 17 turnovers for the Rams were a high in the last 15 games, as the Roadrunners turned it into 19 points.
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