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By Rod Thornburg / Special toThe Californian
BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
You don't often see two Division I teams facing off without their starting point guards, but it happened Saturday night in Rabobank Arena.
Cal State Bakersfield's former 6-foot-8 shooting guard-small forward Tyrone White has been thrust into the point guard spot and made his home debut in that role against Texas-San Antonio.
San Antonio, meanwhile, was reeling after losing its starting point guard Michael Hale III to a left knee injury in his team's loss at Oregon Thursday night.
CSUB took advantage. San Antonio was forced into 20 first-half turnovers and Bakersfield put the game away early in an 85-52 win before 2,037 at Rabobank Arena.
Bakersfield (2-5) allowed the second-fewest points to a Division I opponent in its Division I history.
San Antonio had difficulty getting the ball inbounds after Roadrunner scores as Bakersfield's high-pressure defense swarmed the passing lanes.
CSUB coach Rod Barnes said he wants his teams to press, but he acknowledged his team stepped up the pressure by feeding on the momentum caused by San Antonio's turnovers.
"No question about that," Barnes said. "They didn't handle it (pressure) very well. If they had burned us three or four times we would not have been as aggressive."
CSUB had a 35-10 edge in points off turnovers. San Antonio finished with 26 turnovers to only 11 by CSUB.
And in perhaps the best illustration of San Antonio's point guard problems: it had only four assists in the game.
CSUB is having its own point guard issues. Issiah Grayson, last season's starter, is sitting out this year as a redshirt after slower-than-expected recovery from off-season knee surgery.
And Grayson's replacement, Zach Lamb, suffered a season-ending dislocated ankle in the Nov. 20 game against Westmont.
So White has assumed the role, with walk-on freshman Britton Williams from Liberty High backing him up.
"He's a threat. He can shoot the ball," Barnes said of White. "I didn't want to put Britton, a freshman, in there in the first game (after Lamb's injury) against Wyoming.
"Tyrone's been here. He knows our system. He has the best (basketball) IQ on our team. And he gives us another (outside shooting) threat.
"They can't focus so much on Stephon (Carter) or Brandon (Barnes) when they're driving the ball because we've got good shooters out there with Tyrone and Javonte (Maynor)."
White had 11 points, hitting 3-of-5 on 3s and added eight assists. Williams had six assists with zero turnovers.
"I'm not going to lie, it's difficult," White said of the transition to point guard. "Tonight my teammates were in the right position and they made me look real good."
White said he was a point guard before, but that was when he was only a 5-foot-7 high school freshman.
Ironically, White is very familiar with Hale, San Antonio's injured point guard. They were teammates and roommates when they played together at North Idaho College two seasons ago.
"I watched the game (Thursday between San Antonio and Oregon) and I knew he got hurt, but I didn't know the extent of it until I got to Rabobank," White said.
Carter had a game-high 20 points for CSUB with eight rebound and five steals.
"We knew coming into the game that if we played hard and did the little things, they'd turn the ball over," Carter said. "Whether their point guard was there or not, we were going to play the same."
Maynor hit five 3s and finished with 17 points. Brandon Barnes scored 13 points and Adam Young chipped in 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Kannon Burrage had 18 points for San Antonio.
Bakersfield led at halftime 54-23 and the lead never dropped below 28 in the second half.
CSUB plays at Cal State Fullerton on Thursday.
Notes: Lamb said Saturday night he's been told his dislocated right ankle has an estimated healing time of 2-3 months. He said he plans playing his senior season in 2013-14 since he can use an injury redshirt season this year.