Abbotsford – The Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners lived up to their nickname, riding a pedal-to-the-metal pace to a 96-59 exhibition victory over the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team on Monday evening in Abbotsford.
The NCAA Div. I visitors got off to a hot start, building a 19-point lead on their way to a 27-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The Cascades found their footing in the second, outscoring CSUB 18-15 in the frame to cut the deficit to 42-29 at the break. But the Roadrunners surged in the third quarter, pushing the lead beyond 20 points and continuing to pull away in the fourth.
“That’s going to be the most athletic team we play all season,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said afterward. “It’s a really great opportunity, in August, to play a team that works as hard as they do and is going to challenge us physically the way they’re able to. It’s a great way for us to kick off the year.”
The Cascades were shorthanded on Monday, as fifth-year standouts Parm Bains and Sukhjot Bains – their top two scorers last season – were late scratches due to injury.
The Roadrunners, meanwhile, were as advertised – long, athletic, and deep. CSUB junior guard Taze Moore wowed the crowd with an incredible sequence in the first quarter, hammering down an alley-oop dunk on one end of the floor, then hustling back down and catching Cascades first-year forward Sukhraj Bains with a two-handed block against the glass.
The Cascades battled back, digging in defensively and reeling off an 8-0 run in the second quarter behind five points from senior forward Matt Cooley and a triple from transfer Jaskarn Bajwa.
CSUB’s energy at the defensive end proved decisive, though, as they forced the Cascades into 31 turnovers while giving the ball away just 12 times themselves.
Cascades veterans Kenan Hadzovic and Daniel Adediran tied for team-high honours with 13 point apiece, and Hadzovic and Vick Toor each registered three assists. Bajwa (nine points) and Vlad Mihaila (eight points) also chipped in offensively for the hosts.
Moore and Justin Edler-Davis paced the Roadrunners with 16 points each, and De’Monte Buckingham stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, six assists and six steals. CSUB shot 50.7 per cent from the field while limiting UFV to 36.4 per cent.
Friesen, whose team had just three practices under their belt prior to Monday’s game, said he hopes the Cascades come away with an understanding of the intensity they need to practice and play with every day.
“We’re going to have to play other athletic teams, and we’re going to have figure out a way to be better against that type of challenge,” he noted.
Friesen was pleased with the play of backup point guard Hadzovic, who is heading into his third season.
“Kenan has put a ton of work in this summer, and I think it started to show today,” he said. “I think it’s the start of a really positive year for him.”