Grayson made good on all but one of his 15 opportunities at the free-throw line for the sixth-seeded Roadrunners (13-18) in the victory. Aly Ahmed registered a double-double for Bakersfield with 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, followed by Stefon Johnson with 12 points and nine boards off the bench.
The third-seeded Cougars (13-19) were led by Nate Duhon with his 19 points and eight boards, followed by Clarke Rosenberg who tallied 14 points as a reserve before fouling out.
Chicago State led by as many as seven points in the first half, due to the fact that the Roadrunners shot only 38.5 percent from the field and missed all eight chances behind the 3-point line in the period, yet it was Bakersfield that led by three at the break, 36-33.
In the second half both sides made a mere eight field goals, including three attempts from behind the 3-point line, so it came down to a 13-10 edge at the free-throw line for the Roadrunners that kept them out in front.
In a meeting that featured seven ties and 12 lead changes, the Roadrunners overcome 17 turnovers by producing a 29-12 scoring margin at the charity stripe.
With the victory the Roadrunners now move to the semifinals on Friday night to face the winner of the Seattle/New Mexico State matchup for the right to take part in the title game Saturday night.