LA JOLLA, Calif. -
Reggie Jones scored a game-high 12 points and Brett Sayad finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds to lead Cal State Stanislaus to a 55-42 victory over UC San Diego in a California Collegiate Athletic Association matchup on Saturday evening at RIMAC Arena.
The game was tied six minutes into the second half, but an 11-2 Warrior run turned the tide in the visitors' favor as the Triton offense struggled to get going. UCSD shot a season-low 24% from the field, converting just 14 of its 59 shots in the game as CSUS spoiled Senior Night in La Jolla.
Cal State Stanislaus, which came into Saturday's matchup with a three-game lead over UCSD in the CCAA standings, improves to 13-9 overall and 9-9 in conference play with the win. The Warriors had lost three of four before knocking off the Tritons, but still hold a firm grip on the eighth and final seed for next month's CCAA Tournament.
UC San Diego drops to 9-14 on the year and 5-13 in the CCAA with the loss. After picking up a pair of huge wins over Cal State L.A. and Cal State Dominguez Hills last week, the Tritons saw their postseason hopes take a severe blow with back-to-back losses to Chico State and Cal State Stanislaus this week.
UCSD is four games out of eighth place in the league standings with four games to play.
"Our offense really struggled tonight and that definitely hurt us," head coach Chris Carlson said. "We did a decent job defensively and we were right there, but at some point you've got to make shots and we just didn't do that tonight. Our guys played really hard, but we could just never get it going in the right direction offensively."
Jones was just 4-of-16 from the field, but hit 4-of-5 at the free throw line to lead the Warriors. He scored nine of his 12 points in the decisive second half and also tallied five rebounds. Sayad hit 3-of-7 from the floor and 2-of-4 from the three-point line. Frank Monge added six points and 12 boards.
Cal State Stanislaus shot just 37% (19-51) from the field, but kept the UCSD offense in check all evening defensively.
James McCann and Mike Meza scored nine points apiece for the Tritons, who managed just 20 points in the first half and 22 in the second. McCann finished 3-of-6 from the floor and dished out four assists, while Meza was 3-of-8, with all three of his field goals coming from behind the arc.
Tyler McGrath had eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, while Christian Hatch finished with five points and 11 rebounds.
UCSD scored the first four points of the second half to take a modest 24-20 lead, but the Warriors outscored the Tritons 16-3 over the next nine minutes to take a 36-27 advantage with 8:40 remaining. Jones scored back-to-back buckets during the run, while Dan Daviess and Sayad hit a pair of huge threes.
The Tritons followed with five of the next seven to pull within 38-33 with six minutes to play, but that's as close as they would get as Daviess hit another triple and Sam Marcus sank a pair of free throws to push the Warrior advantage to 10 at 43-33.
With the offense continuing to stall, the game slipped away from UCSD as CSUS extended its lead to as many as 17 in the final minute.
The Tritons shot just 29% in the second half after converting a woeful 6-of-31, 19%, in the opening period. The Warriors heated up to 48% in the decisive second stanza after shooting 27% in the first.
Seniors Hatch, Meza and Ryan Wheeler were honored prior to Saturday's game.
UCSD will now hit the road for four straight to wrap up the regular season, beginning with matchups against Cal State Monterey Bay and Cal State East Bay next week.