CBU men’s basketball coach Rick Croy believes that his team has not even begun to scratch the surface of how good they can be offensively.
If that’s the case then an already fun to watch Lancer team will find themselves right in the thick of a loaded Western Athletic Conference men’s basketball regular season title chase.
But on Wednesday night at the CBU Events Center, a rivalry game took place. It was a game about city pride as Riverside’s two NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams, separated by nine miles, met for a fourth straight year with CBU leading the series 2-1. The average margin of victory in those three previous meetings was 12.7 PPG.
For 20 minutes, the Lancers (4-3) and Highlanders of UC Riverside (5-3) were both cold offensively. The teams combined to shoot 4-23 from 3-point range and 20-56 (35.7%) in total.
UC Riverside (picked 5th in the Big West Preseason Coaches Poll) led 34-24 at the break. Vladimer Salaridze connected on back-to-back 3-pointers as part of a 14-1 run covering just under four minutes. CBU led 19-14 at the start of the run and trailed 28-20 at its conclusion.
“We haven’t shot the ball well this year,” Crowy said. “But we will as long as we keep working at it. Tonight we had one good stretch where shots went in. We got the crowd behind us, and were able to defend well enough to come away with a win.”
Coming out of halftime, CBU went on a 13-1 run of their own over a 4-minute span. The run helped CBU retake the lead at 37-35. Joe Quintana connected on back-to-back 3-pointers. Tre and Taran Armstrong combined for seven points in that run.
Back-to-back Riley Battin 3-pointers gave CBU a 61-58 lead with 4:21 remaining.
The show and go from Taz. ??#LanceUp⚔️ pic.twitter.com/yQDEgOBhgL
— California Baptist Men's Basketball (@CBUmbb) December 1, 2022
That was the game’s final field goal as the last six points were scored at the free throw line. UC Riverside had one final opportunity to tie with 11 seconds left. But, Flynn Cameron’s 3-pointer found every part of the basket but refused to drop.
“That second half was just us playing good basketball,” CBU guard Taran Armstrong said. “We’re just scratching the surface of how good this team can be offensively and know we can be dangerous when we all find that good form, We’re preparing the right way, with a ton of tough games, to play against a loaded conference that I feel doesn’t get enough respect for just how good it is.”
After the half CBU’s offense kicked into gear, shooting 13-30 (43.3%) in total and 6-11 (54.5%) from 3-point range while the Highlanders shot just 31 percent and 2-11 from beyond the arc.
CBU’s Hunter Goodrick led all players with 21 points and four rebounds in 27 minutes. Joe Quintana had 14 points, five rebounds and three blocks in 36 minutes while Taran Armstrong added 13 points, five rebounds, and five assists in 33 minutes of action. Last, but not least, Riley Battin chipped in 10 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes.
Zyon Pullin led UC Riverside with 19 points and seven assists while Salaridze added 16 points.
CBU is at Cal Poly on Saturday with a 6 p.m. PT tip-off on ESPN+. The Mustangs were picked to finish 9th in the Big West coaches poll.