Tritons Come Back Late (Again), but Lose at Cal State San Bernardino
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - For the second straight game the 16th-ranked University of California San Diego men's basketball team came back from a sizable deficit but ended up losing as it suffered a heartbreaking 77-75 defeat at conference foe Cal State San Bernardino Saturday afternoon.
After leading by 12 points early in the second half and then falling behind by 12 points late, UC San Diego stormed back to tie it at 75-75 with just 19 ticks remaining. However, Cal State San Bernardino made a layup with four seconds left to take the win and stun the Tritons.
UC San Diego is now 17-6 overall and 12-4 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). With six conference games remaining in the regular season, the Tritons sit in second place behind Cal State East Bay (13-4).
The Tritons led for a majority of the game, ahead for 25:34. The Coyotes were in front for 12:46.
"I thought we did a really good job of fighting until the end," said UC San Diego head coach Eric Olen. "We gave ourselves a chance after being down late, but ultimately came up short. San Bernardino deserves a lot of credit for the way they played."
All but nine of UC San Diego's points were scored by the starting five. The Tritons made 42.9 percent (21-49) of their shots in the game. After hitting at a 56.5 percent (13-23) clip in the first half, they made only 30.8 percent (8-26) in the second stanza. They hit 12 three-pointers, six in each half, and went 21-for-23 from the free throw line. UC San Diego was out-rebounded 42-25, which included a 16-4 shortcoming on the offensive glass.
Christian Bayne scored a career-high 29 points, 21 of those coming in the second half. He was 8-for-17 from the field with five three-pointers and a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. Chris Hansen recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 rebounds, one board short of his career-best, while Scott Everman finished with 13 points.
Leading 39-30 at halftime, Bayne made a layup and a free throw to open the second half, giving the Tritons their biggest advantage of the day. The Coyotes started chipping away and tied it at 52 when Garrett Baggett hit a three at the 9:46 mark. They proceeded to go on a 17-5 run that left them in front by 12, 69-57, with 4:17 remaining.
UC San Diego needed a comeback, which it staged over the next four minutes by returning the favor with an 18-6 run of its own. Bayne accounted for 13 of those points, which included two treys, a jumper, and five free throws. Everman added the other five points with a three and a pair of free throws. Bayne's final two makes from the free throw line evened the game at 75-75.
With four seconds left in regulation, CSUSB's Malik Rhodes drove the lane and dished to Andres Villa, who netted the game-winning layup in traffic.
Baggett and Daytone Jennings each had 20 points for the Coyotes and Villa finished with 17.
The Coyotes shot 54.8 percent (17-31) and scored 44 points in the paint.
The teams split the regular season series as the Tritons defeated the Coyotes, 97-63, in November.
UC San Diego came back from a 22-point deficit and took a lead late in the game at Cal Poly Pomona Thursday but ended up falling by a 67-62 score.
It is the first time since early February of 2018 that the Tritons have lost back-to-back contests.
"We need to learn from this past week and work to improve in order to start pulling out close games going forward," said Olen.
UC San Diego returns home for a pair of CCAA games next week, hosting Cal State Dominguez Hills on Thursday, February 14 and Cal State LA on Saturday, February 16. Both games are scheduled to tip at 7:30 p.m. at RIMAC Arena.
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles, and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in the summer of 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's pre-eminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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For complete coverage and information regarding UC San Diego Athletics, follow the Tritons online at UCSDTritons.com and through social media on Twitter (@UCSDTritons), Instagram (@UCSDTritons) and Facebook (UCSDTritons). To stay tuned in to UC San Diego Men's Basketball, follow the team's Instagram (@UCSDmbb) and Twitter (@UCSDmbb), as well as Head Coach Eric Olen's Twitter (@CoachEricOlen) and Associate Head Coach Clint Allard's Twitter (@CoachAllard).