LA JOLLA, Calif. - A strong first half lifted the University of California San Diego men's basketball team to a 71-60 victory over conference foe San Francisco State Friday night at RIMAC Arena.
UC San Diego, which was playing for the first time since Dec. 19, improved to 7-5 overall and 4-2 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). SF State dropped to 7-5 and 4-3.
The Gators scored the first two points of the game, but UCSD swingman Christian Oshita followed with a three-pointer to put the Tritons in front and they led for the rest of the contest.
UC San Diego shot 54.5 percent in the opening half, draining 18 of its 33 shots. Eight of the Tritons' 10 three-pointers in the game came in the first stanza, helping them earn a 45-24 advantage at halftime. Guard Anthony Ballestero collected all 12 of his points in the first half after making four three-pointers, while forward Scott Everman netted 10 of his 14 points in the frame.
Oshita nailed a three-pointer to kick off the second half, pushing UC San Diego's lead to 24 (48-24), its largest of the game. However, the Tritons ended up shooting just 28 percent in the half, going 7-for-25 from the field. They made only two of their 12 three-point attempts, 16.7 percent.
San Francisco State shot 46.4 percent (13-28) in the second half after making just 28.6 percent (8-28) of its shots in the first.
Following Oshita's trey, the Gators went on an 18-3 run and found themselves down by just nine points, 51-42, with 12:39 left in the game. The run culminated with back-to-back-to-back three-pointers. Twice SF State got within seven points, the second time coming when Brantley Bynum hit a pair of free throws to make it 61-54 in favor of the Tritons with 3:59 on the clock.
However, UCSD guard Christian Bayne scored the next six points of the game, four coming from the free throw line, to put the Tritons in front by 13, 67-54, with just over two minutes left. San Francisco State lowered the gap to nine twice, but would not get any closer.
Oshita finished with a game-high 19 points, going 8-for-16 from the floor. Bayne totaled 16 points while bringing down nine rebounds and three steals, both team-bests. Forward Eric Patton had six rebounds, three blocks, two assists, and a steal. Everman and guard Mikey Howell had four assists apiece.
For the Gators, Ryne Williams posted 13 points and Bynum was just behind with 12. Bynum recorded a double-double with a game-high 10 boards.
UC San Diego closes out 2017 on the road as it plays at Stanislaus State (9-4, 5-3 CCAA) on Dec. 31 at 4 p.m. The Warriors suffered a 96-79 conference loss to Cal State San Marcos Friday night.