LA JOLLA, Calif. -
Theron Laudermill scored 20 points, including the decisive basket with 1:05 remaining, to lift visiting Cal State San Bernardino to a 60-59 victory over UC San Diego in California Collegiate Athletic Association play on Thursday night at RIMAC Arena.
After trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half, the Tritons rallied all the way back to take a 59-58 advantage with just over a minute left, but Laudermill answered for the Coyotes and UCSD was unable to score the go ahead basket in the final minute.
Cal State San Bernardino improves to 9-5 overall and 7-3 in the CCAA with the win, rebounding after suffering a 69-61 setback at defending national champion Cal Poly Pomona on Tuesday night. UCSD falls to 9-8 on the season and 4-7 in the CCAA. The Tritons have dropped four of their last five overall and have lost their last three meetings with the Coyotes.
Laudermill finished 7-of-13 from the field and scored 13 of 20 points in the second half, as CSUSB was able to fend off UCSD's comeback bid. He also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds. Aaron Hill was the only other player to reach double figures for the Coyotes, finishing with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting.
Casey Ryan was tremendous in a losing effort for the Tritons, finishing with a game-high 21 points and seven rebounds. After scoring just eight points in UCSD's loss to league-leader Cal State Dominguez Hills on Saturday, Ryan bounced back with a strong effort against San Bernardino, finishing 6-for-11 from the field and 9-of-12 at the charity stripe.
James McCann added 14 points, five boards and two assists, while Christian Hatch finished with 12 points and five rebounds.
The Coyotes shot just 37.5% for the game, but held a 38-30 rebounding advantage and outscored the Tritons 11-2 in second chance points. UCSD shot 43.5%, including an even 50% in the second half to win the period, 34-27.
"We didn't play a great first half and we acknowledged that and made a few adjustments in the second half," head coach Chris Carlson said. "I think the biggest thing was just playing with a greater sense of urgency and playing with more energy on the floor in the second half and I thought we did that. I was really proud of our effort, we just didn't get it done."
San Bernardino held a 31-18 advantage with 4:16 remaining in the first half, but UCSD closed the period on a 7-2 run to trail by just eight at the break. Ryan threw down a monstrous dunk in transition to make it 33-25 heading into the locker room.
The Tritons had the momentum to start the second half as well, cutting the deficit to just five at 38-33 following a pair of free throws from Ryan and a McCann layup. The Coyotes refused to roll over though, pushing the lead back to 10 at 45-35 on a three-pointer from Ryan Kinney with 14 minutes left.
UCSD followed with a 12-4 run over the next 5:12 to pull within a basket (51-49) on Justin Brue's layup, but Laudermill responded with a big three-point play on CSUSB's next possession. The Tritons would score six of the next seven points, with McCann hitting a deep three and Brue sinking a jumper to tie the game at 55 with 4:03 left to play.
With the score still locked a minute and a half later, Corey Caston converted one of two free throws to give the visitors a 58-57 advantage. After an empty trip for both squads, Ryan scored to give UCSD its first lead since early in the first half, but it didn't last long as Laudermill's bucket followed to put CSUSB back in front, 60-59.
After a Hatch jumper just rimmed out and Caston misfired for the Coyotes, the Tritons got the ball back with 14 seconds remaining and a chance to win the game. A San Bernardino trap forced a timeout with just four seconds left and Brue's ensuing three fell short to seal the victory for the Coyotes.
The Tritons will wrap up their four-game homestand against Cal Poly Pomona on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. The Broncos enter Saturday's game riding a four-game winning streak after defeating Cal State East Bay, 69-60, on Thursday.