CS-Bakersfield (5-2) vs. Drake (5-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 1, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Save Mart Center (15,596) -- Fresno, California. Television: None. Home Record: Bakersfield 4-0, Drake 2-0. Away Record: Bakersfield 0-2, Drake 2-1. Neutral Record: Bakersfield 1-0, Drake 1-0. Conference Record: Bakersfield 0-0, Drake 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams seeking a sixth win on the season get together at the Save Mart Center this afternoon as the Drake Bulldogs battle the Roadrunners of CS-Bakersfield in the final round of the Fresno State Classic.
The Bulldogs are aiming for their 20th all-time tournament title and first since capturing their own Drake Hy-Vee Classic in Dec. 2008. The team, which has never won a three-game tournament/classic, began the quest with an 84-74 victory over host Fresno State on Friday and followed that with a 76-56 triumph over Northern Arizona yesterday.
With the win versus the Lumberjacks, Drake set a new program record for victories in the month of November with five.
Also with five wins in the month are the Roadrunners, who are meeting Drake for the first time ever. After dropping the season opener to Washington State (62-56) on the road, Bakersfield rattled off five consecutive wins, including a 61-50 final over NAU two days ago. However, the team bowed to tourney host FSU in overtime on Saturday night, 96-86.
In a game that featured four ties and five lead changes, the Roadrunners hurt themselves with 17 turnovers as they allowed Fresno State to knock down 52.8 percent from the floor and watched the host connected on 34-of-47 at the free- throw line. Bakersfield, which converted only 14-of-21 at the charity stripe, was led by Brandon Barnes and Issiah Grayson who both tallied 20 points, the former adding seven rebounds off the bench before fouling out and the latter handing out seven assists. Stefon Johnson registered a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards.
Grayson, who has at least held a share of the team's scoring lead in three of the last four outings, checks in with 12.3 ppg and is tops with 5.1 apg, as well as 15 steals, although those numbers still don't make up for the fact that he is shooting only 36.8 percent from the floor through seven starts. Javonte Maynor, the other double-digit scorer for CSUB with his 10.0 ppg, has been getting the job done with 20-of-46 accuracy beyond the arc as a part-time starter.
Drake scored the first points of the game against the Lumberjacks on Saturday and never looked back, hitting on not only 52.6 percent from the floor overall but also 55.0 percent (11-of-20) behind the 3-point line in order to offset a lackluster 5-of-11 showing at the free-throw line. Every starter, except for Seth VanDeest (four points), scored in double figures as Chris Caird led the way with 16, followed by Aaron Hawley with 13 points. Richard Carter tacked on 12 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals, while Gary Ricks produced 10 points and had five dishes.
Carter has been huge for the team in the early going this season, knocking down 45.8 percent of his 3-point tries and 84.6 percent at the charity stripe in order to arrive at 21.0 ppg. Third on the unit with 20 assists, Carter paces the group with 16 steals and is pulling down 4.7 rpg, proving that he can do whatever is needed in order for the Bulldogs to succeed. Ricks pitches in with 13.0 ppg and 23 assists for a group that is outscoring the competition by 15.1 ppg.
While both of these teams are putting up strong numbers, it must be noted that the November schedules were not all that taxing. However, the Bulldogs should have all the confidence they need with their strong shooting performances in order to keep the good times rolling today.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Drake 77, CS-Bakersfield 73
12/01 10:41:56 ET