LA JOLLA, Calif. -
Brian Morris scored a game-high 22 points and Randy Hunter finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, leading Humboldt State to a 67-57 triumph over UC San Diego in a tightly contested California Collegiate Athletic Association matchup on Sunday afternoon at RIMAC Arena.
Christian Hatch scored 15 points to lead three players in double figures for the Tritons, who lost for the first time at home this season. UCSD played HSU tough for 34 minutes, but the Lumberjacks closed the game on a 19-7 run to pick up the win.
Humboldt State improves to 7-1 overall on the season and ups its CCAA mark to 3-1, while UCSD falls to 6-4 overall and 1-3 in conference play. After winning five of their first six to open the season, the Tritons have now lost three of four heading into their December 30 matchup with Sonoma State.
Morris finished 8-of-10 from the field and 3-for-4 from the three-point line to lead the Lumberjacks in scoring even though foul trouble limited him to just 24 minutes. The senior forward also tallied five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals.
Hunter was just 3-of-12 from the field, but converted 9-of-11 shots at the free throw line. In addition to his 11 boards, he also had a pair of assists, two blocks and two steals.
Hatch hit 6-of-9 from the floor to finish in double figures for the fourth time in five games. Justin Brue scored 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting to go with eight rebounds and a career-high five blocks, while James McCann tallied 10 points and three assists. Casey Ryan, who had recorded four straight double-doubles, was held to just six points and six boards.
"Humboldt's a very good, very talented, very well-coached team and we knew we were going to have a tough test today," head coach Chris Carlson said. "We did a lot of really good things, but we just didn't rebound the ball real well and we turned the ball over late at some key points and it cost us. We've got to learn from this and get better."
The Tritons' trailed 46-43 with 9:30 remaining in the second half, but Hatch sank a pair of free throws and McCann converted a three-point play to give UCSD a 48-46 advantage with 8:45 left to play.
The Tritons' led 50-48 following two free throws from Ryan less than two minutes later, but Humboldt State's Kyle Baxter Ernie Spada combined to score seven straight points to put the visitors up for good at 54-50 with 5:51 left to play. UCSD closed to within two (56-54) after McCann hit two free throws, but Elliot Babcock-Krenk answered with a triple on the other end to extend the Lumberjacks' advantage to five at 59-54 with four and a half minutes left.
Ryan's layup on the following possession cut the margin to just three, but that was as close at the Tritons would get as Morris hit a jumper and the Lumberjacks went on to score eight of the final nine points to take their biggest lead of the game at the final horn.
UCSD outshot HSU 41% to 35% in the game, but the Lumberjacks were plus-18 from the three-point line and scored 24 points off 17 turnovers for the Tritons. HSU also held a 37-29 rebounding advantage, grabbing 16 boards on the offensive end.
The Lumberjacks led by as many as six (18-12) early in the first half, but the Tritons rallied to take a 25-23 lead on two free throws from Brue with three minutes remaining in the period. The game was tied at 27 at the half.
Tipoff for UCSD's matchup with Sonoma State is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on December 30 at RIMAC Arena. The Tritons lost both meetings with the Seawolves in 2009-10.