Cal State Bakersfield (7-21) at (18) Gonzaga (24-5)
Tuesday, March 2nd, 9:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: McCarthey Athletic Center (,) -- Spokane, Washington. Television: FSN-NW. Home Record: CS-Bakersfield 5-7, Gonzaga 12-1. Away Record: CS-Bakersfield 2-14, Gonzaga 6-3. Neutral Record: CS-Bakersfield 0-0, Gonzaga 6-1. Conference Record: CS-Bakersfield 0-0, Gonzaga 12-2. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: With the West Coast Conference title already in hand, the 18th- ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs close out their regular season with a non-conference bout against the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunner.
The Bulldogs ran through their West Coast Conference schedule with a 12-2 league mark, capturing their 10th straight league title, tied for the second- longest streak in NCAA history. The Zags are the top see in the upcoming WCC Tournament and will have a bye all the way to the semifinal. The team has only lost once since the turn of the calendar year and brings a three-game win streak into this contest following a 75-69 conference-clinching victory over San Francisco on Saturday.
The Roadrunners are an independent team and have struggled as such, posting a mere 7-21 overall mark. CSUB has some wins this season over the likes of Idaho State, UC Irvine , Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly and Montana State, but enters this game with a three-game losing streak in tow, including last weekend's 76-72 setback at Seattle University.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two teams on the hardwood.
The Roadrunners shot a healthy .481 from the floor against Seattle, but committed an unforgiving 27 turnovers in a four-point loss on Saturday. Stephon Carter led the offensive charge for CSUB with 19 points, although he was responsible for a team-high seven turnovers. Trent Blakley joined Carter in double figures with 15 points. The Roadrunners have failed to perform consistently at the offensive ends this season, coming into this contest averaging 66.0 ppg, on a mere .390 shooting clip. To compound the problem, the team is allowing a generous 74.5 ppg on .456 shooting. Blakley is the top scorer on the team with 15.0 ppg. Carter follows at 13.0 ppg and is the team's top distributor (83 assists). Santwon Latunde (11.0 ppg, team-high 7.9 rpg) gives the team a presence up front.
While the Roadrunners have struggled offensively, the Bulldogs have flourished. Gonzaga is converting almost half of its shots on the year (.494), resulting in a healthy 78.1 ppg. The scoring depth is apparent with four of the five starters averaging double figures, starting with Matt Bouldin's 16.0 ppg. Bouldin has the ability to contribute in other areas as well, leading the team in assists (4.1 apg) and steals (42), while also averaging 4.6 rebounds per game. Elias Harris (15.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Robert Sacre (10.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg) give the team balance in the frontcourt, while Steven Gray (13.8 ppg, 2.7 apg) joins Bouldin in the backcourt. It wasn't easy, but Gonzaga was able to earn yet another WCC title with a victory over San Francisco on Saturday. The pesky Dons hung tough, but the Zags shot a stellar .520 from the floor and were able to earn the victory. Harris led the way with 17 points. Gray followed with 15, while Sacre and Bouldin chipped in with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
This game should be nothing more than a tuneup for the Bulldogs, who have their sights set on a tournament title and favorable seeding in the Big Dance.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Gonzaga 84, CS-Bakersfield 53
03/02 10:44:18 ET