ROHNERT PARK, Calif. - For the third time this season, Christian Bayne scored a career-high 28 points to lead the University of California San Diego men's basketball team to a 71-64 conference victory against Sonoma State Friday night at The Wolves' Den.
With its third-straight win, UC San Diego improved to 15-6 overall and 12-3 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), in second place behind Cal Poly Pomona (13-3). Sonoma State, which dropped its third-consecutive contest, fell to 9-11 on the year and 7-9 in league play.
It was the second time in less than a week that the two teams had squared off as the Tritons eked out a 67-64 victory on Jan. 27 at RIMAC Arena.
"This was a really good win for our team tonight," said UCSD head coach Eric Olen. "We just had a close game with Sonoma last week and it's difficult to play the same team twice in a row. We tried to make some adjustments from the previous game with varying degrees of success. Ultimately, both contests ended up being similar."
Bayne was 7-for-12 overall from the field with three makes from behind the three-point line. He was perfect from the charity stripe, making all 11 of his attempts. No surprise as the junior guard entered the game ranked seventh in the country with his .923 free throw percentage. Following tonight's performance, he sits at .930 (119-128).
Bayne's 28 points are the most scored by any Triton this season. He also recorded the total at Cal State East Bay (1/13) and at home against Cal State San Bernardino (11/30).
The Tritons got 20 points from forward Scott Everman and 15 from guard/forward Christian Oshita, who also finished with a game-high nine rebounds. Forward Kenny Fraser grabbed six boards as UCSD out-rebounded SSU, 32-23.
UC San Diego made 24 of its 29 free throw attempts, 82.6 percent. The team shot .476 (20-42), which included a .524 (11-21) clip in the opening half.
SSU led by 11 points with under seven minutes left in the first half, but UCSD hit a trio of three-pointers and Everman tallied the final five points of the frame to put the Tritons in front by a score of 32-29 heading into the break.
The Seawolves regained the lead early in the second half, but it was short-lived. A Bayne trey with 14:40 left in the game put the Tritons back in front for good. At the 5:21 mark, the Tritons extended their lead to 13, their largest of the game, when Oshita drilled a three to make it 57-44.
SSU did make it interesting late as Isaac Davidson hit a three with just 14 seconds left to get his team within four at 68-64. However, Bayne made two free throws and guard Mikey Howell added another to seal the Triton victory.
Sonoma State was led by Davidson's 26 points, while Jackson Gion chipped in with 11. Both players hit three three-pointers as the Seawolves were 9-for-18 from deep.
SSU shot just .392 (20-51) for the game. The Seawolves scored 16 points off of 13 UCSD turnovers.
"I'm proud of our performance and feel fortunate to hang on and win another big game," said Olen.
UC San Diego plays at San Francisco State (13-9, 9-7 CCAA) Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. The Tritons defeated the Gators, 71-60, in La Jolla on Dec. 29.