SEASIDE, Calif. - The 15th-ranked University of California San Diego men's basketball team survived a near-upset Thursday but pulled out a 54-50 win at league opponent Cal State Monterey Bay.
With its fifth-consecutive victory, UC San Diego improved to 12-2 and remained the lone undefeated team in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play at 7-0. A struggling Monterey Bay fell to 3-10 and 1-6, tied for last place in the CCAA.
UCSD led by nine points, 50-41, with just under seven minutes remaining in the game. However CSUMB went on a 9-3 run to cut its deficit to three points, 53-50, with 1:24 left. That would be the final point total for the Otters, who missed their next three shots, including a pair of three-pointers.
The Tritons shot just 34 percent (18-53), their second-lowest of the season. They made six of 22 three-point attempts (27.3 percent) and hit only 57.1 percent (12-21) of their free throws.
It was the first time this year that UCSD scored under 60 points.
Senior guard Adam Klie netted a game-high 17 points while adding six rebounds for UC San Diego. Junior guard George Buaku totaled 11 points, all in the first half, while freshman forward Scott Everman pulled down 11 rebounds.
"We struggled offensively for a lot of the game, but I thought our seniors stepped up in the second half," said UCSD head coach Eric Olen. "Adam (Klie) made a lot of plays and Aleks (Lipovic) hit some big shots. I was also really pleased with our defensive effort."
The Otters were also cold from the floor, shooting a meager 26.9 percent (14-52). They were much better from the charity stripe, making 18 of 21, 85.7 percent. Monterey Bay held a 42-38 advantage in rebounds.
Jonquis Bouyea finished with 15 points, while Julian Ducree recorded a game-high 13 rebounds for the Otters.
Cal State Monterey Bay's largest lead of the night was five when it was up 17-12 with 4:40 left in the opening half. UC San Diego led 23-21 at halftime.
CSUMB's Joe Covarrubias hit a three-pointer to tie it, 29-29, at the 16:48 mark of the second half, but Klie answered with a jumper to put the Tritons up for good.
UC San Diego plays at Cal State East Bay (9-5, 3-4) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Pioneers lost at home Thursday to Cal State San Marcos, 109-108 in double overtime.