College

Friday, Dec 30 2011 10:41 PM

Roadrunners tune up for big games with easy victory

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Roadrunner Zach Lamb and Kyle McAndrews of Pomona-Pitzer scramble for a loose ball near half court at the Icardo Center.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Pomona-Pitzer's Jake Klewer, left, and Greg Wright try to stop CSUB's Rashad Savage but ended up fouling the Runner forward in the process.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Bakersfield's Stephon Carter grabs an offensive rebound over Pomona-Pitzer's John Weiss and Runner teammates Tyrone White, foreground, and Rashad Savage, back right.

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BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer jevans@bakersfield.com

When CSU Bakersfield released its basketball schedule last summer and it showed a Division III opponent on Dec. 30, it looked like a sure-fire win.

The Roadrunners took the court Friday and made it happen.

"I told our team we did what we needed to do," CSUB coach Rod Barnes said after the Roadrunners rolled past Pomona-Pitzer 75-41 in the Icardo Center Friday night.

Division I teams simply don't lose to Division III programs, which do not offer athletic scholarships and lack the size and athleticism to keep up with teams from the highest level of college basketball.

For Barnes, it was a necessary game to prepare his team for two tough opponents in the next few days: Monday vs. New Mexico State and Thursday against No. 19-ranked UNLV.

The Roadrunners (7-7) came into Friday with five losses in their last six games.

"If you look across the country, most teams that play in major leagues find an opponent they feel they have a good chance of beating," Barnes said.

"Every time you win it's a plus for you. And secondly, it gives you an opportunity to play a lot of guys and that helps you for the games to come."

Ten of CSUB's first 13 games this season have been on the road. Friday's was the first of six straight home games.

"We have a chance now to go into the next game with confidence because we won," Barnes said. "...You definitely don't want to come off a loss and then play the two teams we have coming up."

Barnes added: "The more confidence you can build the more wins you get. Winning breeds winning. ...

"We're trying to build a program. Establish winning. Sometimes you have to take different roads and this is the road we think is best to get us where we want to go."

It took awhile for CSUB to pull away. The Roadrunners didn't get their first double-digit lead until Stephon Carter followed in a missed shot to make it 27-16 with 2:38 left in the first half.

Issiah Grayson's halfcourt 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer made it 35-19, and CSUB pulled away by outscoring Pitzer 14-4 over the first 5 minutes of the second half. CSUB's lead did not drop below 21 after that.

"We focused on Pomona-Pitzer. We knew who their best players were," Carter said of CSUB's pregame preparation. "To look past a team like that would be disrespectful. ... We knew who they were. We made sure we got this win."

Carter had a game-high 16 points with four steals, three assists, and four rebounds. Rashad Savage added 12 points and a game-high seven rebounds while Grayson scored 11 and Adam Young added 10.

Senior forward Donald Johnson (illness) and junior center Andre Jackson (personal problems) did not play.

CSUB's quickness contributed to 22 Pitzer turnovers. The Roadrunners had a 24-3 edge in points off turnovers.

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