After shooting a season-low 24% from the field in an ugly loss to Cal State Stanislaus last Saturday, the Triton offense bounced back with an excellent performance against the Otters, shooting 52% from the floor and 7-of-16 from the three-point line. UCSD jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, leading by as many as 20 points in what proved to be a comfortable win.
The Tritons improve to 10-14 overall and 6-13 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play, winning for the third time in their last five games. Friday marked UCSD's first road win since defeating Academy of Art, 80-66, on November 19. The Tritons had lost their previous seven games away from home.
Cal State Monterey Bay falls to 2-21 on the season and 1-18 in the CCAA. The struggling Otters have dropped 18 straight since defeating Sonoma State the opening weekend of conference play.
"We played very well tonight," head coach Chris Carlson said of his team's performance. "That's certainly not one of the better teams we've seen by any means, but it's very hard to win on the road in this league and we came to play. We jumped on them early and didn't let up."
McGrath finished 6-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-7 from the three-point line, to pave the way for the Triton offense. His performance eclipsed his previous scoring mark of 19 points that came in a 78-72 loss to Cal State Stanislaus on January 6.
Hatch had another strong outing as well, finishing 8-of-10 from the field and hauling down six rebounds. MacKenzie McCullough finished with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go with four boards, while James McCann tallied nine points and five assists.
As a team, the Tritons hit 28-of-54 shots in the game, finishing an identical 14-of-27 in each half, 52%.
Geoff McIntosh and Kevin Loustale finished with 14 off the bench to lead Monterey Bay, while James Thomas scored 13 points, Derrick Anderson put in 12 and Brandon Ward had 10. Despite the balance, CSUMB shot under 38% from the floor, hitting 23 of their 61 shots.
The Triton defense has been outstanding lately, holding four of its last six opponents to less than 38% shooting.
UCSD was in control from the opening tip on Friday, grabbing an 11-5 lead on a triple by McGrath a little more than three minutes in. The home team came back to within two at 15-13 four and a half minutes later, but a 10-2 spurt would give the Tritons their biggest lead of the half at 38-22.
Hatch scored back-to-back baskets to open the second half as UCSD extended its advantage to 17 at 42-25 and two straight threes from McGrath and McCullough gave the Tritons their biggest lead of the evening at 60-40 with 8:41 remaining.
The Otters would get no closer than 11 the rest of the way.
The Tritons will look to make it two in a row when they take on Cal State East Bay on Saturday evening in Hayward. The Pioneers won the first matchup of the year, 80-79, in overtime on January 13 in La Jolla.