LA JOLLA, Calif. - In spite of a double-double performance from senior forward Justin Brue, the UC San Diego men's basketball team suffered a 68-57 loss to Sonoma State at RIMAC Arena on Thursday to begin its final weekend of the regular season.
The Tritons, who drop to 10-14 overall and 9-12 in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) competition, will finish the regular season on Friday against San Francisco State (15-10, 13-8 CCAA) in a game set for a 7:30 p.m. start time. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1700.
Junior guard James McCann led the Tritons with 15 points. McCann also had three rebounds and a game-high five assists, while senior guard Tyler McGrath scored 13 points to go along with seven rebounds and two assists. For the second straight game and third time this season, Brue finished with a double-double, which he earned with his 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Senior forward Ryan Stanley ended with a game-high 17 points to lead the Seawolves. Stanley also had team-highs of nine rebounds and four assists. Giving Stanley support were senior guard/forward Patrick Scott, who contributed 16 points, eight rebounds and a steal, and junior forward/center Justin Herold, who put up 11 points and grabbed six rebounds.
SSU shot less and made more baskets than the Tritons for the game. Over the 40 minutes, the Tritons went 17-for-67 (25.4%) from the field. In comparison, the Seawolves turned in a 20-for-43 (46.5%) performance. UCSD, however, did have a notable advantage in second-chance points and outscored the Seawolves, 15-6, in that category for the contest. In addition, UCSD had only eight turnovers, which was nine fewer than the 17 of the Seawolves.
Leaving the intermission down by a score of 32-22, the Tritons cut the deficit to seven on three different occasions in a five-minute period. The last of those occurred when McCann sank a pair of free throws and the Tritons trailed, 38-31, with 15:33 left in the game.
But midway through the closing frame, the Seawolves went on a 7-0 run. Herold capped the run with a layup at the 10:13 mark to put SSU up, 52-35.
Brue's free throw just 49 seconds before the buzzer brought UCSD within five, 60-55, but the Seawolves solidified their lead by making their final eight free throws.
After breaking out to a 5-0 lead in just over a minute of play to begin the game, the Seawolves later went on a 6-0 run on account of back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore guard Jabri Jenkins and senior guard Will Olsem. The trey from Olsem ended the run at the 5:41 mark and gave SSU a 23-13 lead.
SSU's lead grew as large as 12 in the first half, 32-20, after senior center Andrew Bolton sank both of his free throws with 1:19 remaining, but junior guard/forward MacKenzie McCullough trimmed the Seawolves' lead back to a 10-point, 32-22 advantage with only 34 seconds to spare before halftime.
The Seawolves, who improve to 11-14 overall and 9-12 in CCAA play, conclude the regular season at second-place Cal State San Bernardino (17-7, 15-6) on Friday in a game set for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
Friday's game at RIMAC Arena will be Senior Night and Brue, McGrath, Ryan Peters and Colin Porter will be honored prior to tip off as they will playing in the final regular season contest of their careers. The first 1,000 fans through the door, starting with the women's game at 5:30 p.m., will receive pom-poms. There will be a free between-game tailgate and a fireworks show will cap off the night following the men's game.
-- UCSDtritons.com --