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Roadrunners slip past Eagles in final minute

    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Rickey Holden scored a game-high 16 points and hit the game-winning free throws with 10.9 seconds left to lift CSU Bakersfield to a 55-53 men’s basketball victory over Georgia Southern Saturday afternoon in the Icardo Center.

    David-Lee Jones Jr. drove to the basket on the last possession of the game, but had his contested layup attempt come off the front of the rim. Montae Glenn’s tip-in try rolled off the right side as the horn sounded to end the contest.

    “David came off of a ball screen by Montae, and the look was to look for himself first if the side cleared out, and he got all the way to the rim," GS coach Mark Byington said. "The next look would have been Montae or Jake for a three at the end of it. So being down two, we were looking for a good shot, and if a three showed itself, we could take it. We got all the way to the rim, and then we had a point blank tip-in."

    Glenn led Georgia Southern (8-3) with 13 points to go along with a team-high seven rebounds, and Quan Jackson tallied 11 points, five rebounds, a block and a steal. Mike Hughes finished with 10 points, including seven in the final 1:12, and added four rebounds, a block and a steal.

    Aly Moataz scored 13 points for CSU Bakersfield (7-6), and Justin Davis collected six points and a team-best seven boards. The Roadrunners have now won 33 of their last 36 in the Icardo Center.

    With the Eagles trailing 53-50, Hughes was fouled on his way to the hoop, made the layup and added the free throw to tie the score 53-53 with 14 seconds to go. Hughes was then whistled for a foul trying to reach in on Holden on CSUB’s possession, allowing the junior to hit the go-ahead free throws.

    Holden hit a triple and Davis added a tip-in in an 11-5 Roadrunner run that gave CSUB a 51-46 cushion with 2:46 to play. Neither team could score for a couple possessions until Hughes nailed a 3-pointer for the Eagles to make it a one-score contest with 1:12 remaining.

    It was a defensive struggle for both sides as GS shot 32 percent and CSUB shot 35 percent. The Eagles held the Roadrunners to 3-of-20 from 3-point range, and CSUB held GS without a field goal for the first 6:51 of the second half.

    "We executed better in the last two minutes than the first 38. I thought in the last two minutes of the game, we did exactly what we were supposed to do, and that play was one of the better ones we executed in the game," Byington said. "Sometimes, the ball just doesn't fall in. I like this team because guys are really upset and frustrated, and as a coach, I love that because it means they care. Our guys care, and they showed it tonight.”

    The Eagles return to the East Coast to face Kennesaw State Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., and the game will air on ESPN3.