Cal-State Bakersfield (4-9) vs. Mississippi Valley State (0-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 23, 3:45 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Orleans Arena (9,500) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: None. Home Record: CSUB 3-2, MVSU 0-0. Away Record: CSUB 1-6, MVSU 0-7. Neutral Record: CSUB 0-1, MVSU 0-1. Conference Record: CSUB 0-0, MVSU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils and the Cal-State Bakersfield Roadrunners meet in the final round of the Las Vegas Classic on Sunday afternoon at Orleans Arena.
Bakersfield's season has not gotten off to an ideal start, but it has managed to win four games, the most impressive of which came on the road against Cal State Fullerton, 72-70. The Roadrunners have been slipping of late, losing three straight against Portland (69-51), Colorado State (78-58) and North Florida on Saturday afternoon, 80-70.
It's been an extremely difficult start to the season for MVSU, as it has gone winless in its eight games, which include losses to Virginia Tech (70-49), Bradley (77-42) and Georgia Southern (63-52) in this tournament. The Delta Devils deserve some credit for scheduling several tough opponents early on however, as they have lost road games to Ole Miss (93-57), Cincinnati (102-60), Northwestern (81-68), LSU (75-50) and Virginia (67-39).
These two programs have never before met on the hardwood.
Bakersfield led UNF early in the first half, but fell behind less than three minutes into the game and never against regained the lead. The team shot a relatively modest 42.6 percent from the floor, but it had no answer for the Ospreys, who made a lofty 63.4 percent of their field goal attempts. The Roadrunners got a pair of stellar performances from Brandon Barnes (21 points) and Stephon Carter (18 points), with Carter also adding eight rebounds and four steals. Tyrone White and Javante Maynor each tallied 11 points in the setback. CSUB hasn't been very efficient from the floor this season, shooting 38.9 percent, but it still has four of its five starters averaging in double figures. Carter paces the squad with 15.6 ppg while also leading the way in free throw percentage (.815) and steals (32). Barnes (11.5 ppg), Maynor (10.7 ppg) and White (10.6 ppg) bring plenty of balance to the Roadrunners' attack.
No program in Division I has a worse field goal percentage than MVSU, as it makes good on a woeful 30.5 percent of its total shots in averaging a mere 52.1 ppg, and its loss to Georgia Southern on Saturday afternoon was par for the course. The Devils shot 32.1 percent from the floor, including only 3- of-21 from beyond the arc, in a game they never led. Matt Smith did his best to overcome the poor play of his teammates, shooting 5-of-7 on his way to 15 points, while Davon Usher and Darius Tomlin netted 10 points apiece. On the season, only Usher scores in double figures on a nightly basis, tallying 16.0 ppg, although he is shooting less than 37 percent from the floor. Smith adds 8.0 ppg and 6.8 rpg. MVSU hasn't done much right this year, as it gets outscored by 26.4 ppg, outrebounded by 10.0 rpg, turns the ball over 16.8 per contest, and shoots just 60.8 percent from the foul line.
Neither team has shown much consistency this season shooting the ball, so this has the makings of an ugly matchup. The edge has to go to Bakersfield however, as it at least has been able to hang tough with opponents through the first six weeks of the season, while MVSU has yet to sniff a victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: CS-Bakersfield 60, Miss. Valley State 52
12/23 10:33:18 ET