HAYWARD, Calif. - Christian Hatch and Casey Ryan each tallied a double-double as the UC San Diego men's basketball team knocked off host Cal State East Bay, 64-53, in a defensive struggle on Monday night at Pioneer Gymnasium.
Hatch scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Ryan put in 10 points and hauled in a career-high 17 boards to propel the Tritons to their third victory in four games.
UCSD improves to 8-4 overall on the season, matching the 2009-10 squad's win total of eight. The Tritons also evened their California Collegiate Athletic Association record at 3-3 after posting their second league win in five days.
The Tritons swept the season series with the Pioneers, who drop to 2-8 overall and 0-6 in the CCAA with the loss. UCSD also defeated East Bay 69-55 on December 14 at RIMAC Arena.
While Hatch and Ryan had excellent individual efforts for the Tritons, the UCSD defense was outstanding collectively, limiting CSUEB to just 53 points on 38% shooting (21-56). The Pioneers' point total was the second-lowest for a Triton opponent this season.
UCSD shot 40% from the field, converting 19-of-48 attempts, and held a commanding 47-23 rebounding advantage.
"We had a pretty good effort defensively tonight and we were able to get some key stops late in the second half when we needed to," head coach Chris Carlson said. "It's tough to win on the road in this league, so we're pleased to get a victory to start this (three-game) trip."
Hatch finished 6-of-9 from the field and sank 12-of-14 at the free throw line to match his career-high of 24 that came in a losing effort against Cal State Monterey Bay earlier this season. Ryan converted 3-of-7 shots from the floor and easily set a new career rebounding mark one game after scoring a career-best 28 points in UCSD's win over Sonoma State on Thursday.
Tyler McGrath had a big night for the Tritons off the bench, scoring 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting in 26 minutes. All four of his field goals came from behind the three-point line.
Mark Samuels scored 10 points and dished out four assists to pace the Pioneers, while Roshun Wynne tallied nine points, three rebounds and three assists.
UCSD trailed by five early in the opening half, but rallied to take a 16-11 lead with nine minutes left in the period after back-to-back jumpers by Hatch. Two straight threes by McGrath would put the Tritons in front by 10 at 27-17 with less than five minutes remaining, but the Pioneers scored eight unanswered points to close to within two, 27-25.
UCSD answered with a mini 7-0 run over the final 1:40 of the half, however, and took a 32-25 advantage into the locker room at the break.
East Bay would close to within two points on two separate occasions early in the second half, but the Tritons had the answer each time and eventually pulled in front by 10 at 48-38 on a jumper by James McCann with nine minutes left to play.
George Toyama hit a three and Samuels followed with a runner as the Pioneers cut the UCSD lead to 50-46 with 5:58 remaining, but McCann and Hatch combined to score six straight points to put the Tritons back in front by 10 and end the threat.
Ryan's layup made it 58-47 with just over two minutes left and McCann sank two free throws to give UCSD its biggest lead at 64-51 with 21 seconds on the clock.
The Tritons will look to get over the .500 mark in CCAA play when they travel to Chico State on Friday evening. UCSD will then wrap up its three-game road trip against Cal State Stanislaus in Turlock on Saturday.