Chicago State Falls to a Hot Shooting Cal Bakersfield Team in a Sunday Matinee on the South Side
By: Ethan Hennessy
California State Bakersfield used a 51% shooting performance from the field to defeat Chicago State 72-54 inside the Emil and Patricia A Jones Convocation Center Sunday afternoon.
This Western Athletic Conference matchup was originally scheduled to be played Saturday afternoon on Chicago’s south side, however a winter storm prevented the roadrunners from traveling from Kansas City to the Windy City until 9:30 P.M. last night. The roadrunners did not seem fatigued for the noon tipoff though as they led the cougars wire to wire.
The game was intense from the onset as just over a minute into the game double technical fouls were asessed to Amir Gholizadeh of Chicago State and Shawn Stith of Cal Bakersfield. This was caused because a cougar defender appeared to undercut Stith as he made an alley oop dunk, and then a little skirmish broke out.
The intensity continued throughout the entire game. Cal Bakersfield was pressing Chicago State for most of the game, and when the cougars would get it over the timeline they played harassing, in your face physical defense. CSUB forced 17 Chicago State turnovers and on the otherhand the roadrunners were forced into 13 turnovers themselves.
While Bakersfield did jump out to a quick 14-6 lead Chicago State battled their way back into the game particuarlly from the free throw line. Chicago State head coach Lance Irvin said he told his guys to “drive it and force some contact”. That strategy seemed to work out as CSU went 18-22 from the line on the game.
The cougars were in the double bonus only eleven minutes into the game thanks to the roadrunners physical style of defense. They shrunk the eight point deficit to only two, 27-25 just before the final media timeout of the half. The roadrunners answered however taking a 38-30 lead into the break.
Bakersfield came out of the second half looking to put the game away. In addition to shooting 51% from the field they shot a staggering 47% from three draining eight trifectas in total. The roadrunners were led in scoring by Greg Lee who was making a return to his home state. The Rockford native had a game high 19 points. Chicago State was led by Rajeir Jones. The Saint Francis Academy (Baltimore, MD) product scored 17 four the cougars and dished out four helpers. Amir Gholizadeh the vocal on court leader for the cougars contributed seven points.
With the win California State Bakersfield moved into a tie for second place in the WAC with Cal Baptist. The roadrunners return to the Icardo Center in Bakersfield for a two game homestand this upcoming weekend as they welcome the Utah Valley Wolverines on Thursday night, and the Seattle University RedHawks on Saturday night.
Meanwhile for Chicago State they will head out to the west coast for a brief one game roadtrip against the Lancers of California Baptist at the CBU Events Center in Riverside. After suffering a pair of double digit home losses this weekend to Grand Canyon and CSUB I asked Lance Irvin what needs to change if they hope to spring the upset against Rick Croy’s 13-5 Cal Baptist team. Irvin said: “We can’t let guys shoot 50% against us. A thing that has been hurting us is the second shots, and once again the turnovers. If we could cut down some of that (turnovers) and don’t give up the second shots we’ll be fine.”
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