ROHNERT PARK, Calif. - The UC San Diego men's basketball team regrouped after its Friday loss to San Francisco State, re-channeling its energy to put together a decisive 85-65 victory over Sonoma State on Saturday at The Wolves' Den.
"I couldn't be more proud of our effort tonight," said Tritons head coach Chris Carlson. "It's extremely difficult to win on the road in this league and we showed a lot of resolve. We got contributions from everyone. Our preparation and execution was superb against a very good Sonoma team."
The Tritons climb to an overall record of 6-9 while their record against California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) teams improves to 5-7. UCSD will play the fifth game of its six-game road trip against Cal State Dominguez Hills (10-9, 6-6 CCAA) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Senior guard Tyler McGrath put up a stellar 32 points to lead all scorers and had two rebounds, two assists and a steal. Freshman forward/guard Drew Dyer contributed 19 points, five rebounds, one assist and the only block of the game.
Senior forward Justin Brue and junior guard James McCann each had 12-point efforts. Brue also had a game-high nine rebounds, one assist and a steal while McCann finished the game with one rebound, a career-high nine assists and a game-high three steals.
Senior guard/forward Patrick Scott led the Seawolves with 22 points to go along with three rebounds and two assists. Supporting Scott were senior guard Will Olsem, who scored 13 points and was credited with three rebounds and a share of the team-high three assists, and junior forward Justin Herold, who added 11 points, a team-high six rebounds, one assist and a steal.
UCSD beat the Seawolves on three-point shooting and free throws. The Tritons made 13 of 24 (54.2%) three-point attempts, and SSU went 5-for-13 (38.5%) over the 40 minutes while the Tritons turned in a 14-for-17 (82.4%) performance at the line whereas the Seawolves finished with an 8-for-16 (50.0%) showing from the same area.
In addition, the Tritons outscored the Seawolves off turnovers, 29-18, and UCSD scored four times as many fast-break points than SSU, 8-2, for the contest.
Already up by a score of 38-31 at the intermission, the Tritons never lost possession of their lead in the second half and proceeded to make it larger.
With a 44-40 lead at the 15:18 mark, McGrath not only took full advantage of a technical foul charged to the Seawolves by sinking both of his free throws but also kicked off an 8-0 run. Back-to-back treys by McGrath and Dyer, respectively, extended and capped the run. Dyer's three-pointer gave UCSD its first double-digit lead of the game, 52-40, with 14:30 remaining in the game.
In spite of a 7-0 Seawolves run that followed right after, the Tritons answered with a 7-0 run, which McCann finished with a layup to give UCSD a 14-point, 63-49 advantage with 10:09 to spare in the game.
Over a period lasting more than two minutes, the Tritons went on a 9-0 run, which began with Brue's jumper at the 5:48 mark, to make the score, 72-56. After McGrath hit a trey and a layup, Brue made a pair of free throws to conclude the run with 3:40 left in the game while giving the Tritons a 23-point, 79-56 lead.
UCSD last acquired a 23-point cushion on McGrath's jumper at the 1:34 reading, which brought the Tritons to an 83-60 advantage.
Following a layup by junior guard Matt Bailey with 50 seconds to go in the game, 85-63, SSU freshman forward BJ Smith was credited with the game's final basket on a jumper, 85-65, with only 22 seconds left before the final buzzer.
The game initially looked like it would have a different outcome as the Seawolves opened the contest with a 7-0 run, completed by Scott's three-pointer at the 17:33 reading of the first half.
Behind by three with 13:58 to go before halftime, McGrath sank a three-pointer to tie the game, 12-12, and commence an 8-0 run. UCSD took the lead, 15-12, when Dyer drilled a trey at the 13:31 mark. A pair of free throws from McCann propped the UCSD advantage to five points, 17-12, with 12:42 remaining before halftime.
Though the lead shrank back to one on three occasions, the Tritons never surrendered it and returned it to seven twice in the closing minutes of the first half. The second instance in which UCSD led by seven happened just 30 seconds prior to the intermission when senior forward/center Colin Porter converted a free throw to put the Tritons ahead by a score of 38-31 going into the break.
The Seawolves (6-10, 4-8 CCAA) will play against Cal State East Bay (5-11, 4-8 CCAA) to begin a road trip on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
-- UCSDtritons.com --