Photo by: Jimmy Gekas/Sideline Studios
Justin Brue scored a career-high 20 points to go with five rebounds and three blocks in Thursday's big win over San Francisco State.
Tritons Cage Gators In Double OT, 87-82
Release: Thursday 02/03/2011 
LA JOLLA, Calif. - Christian Hatch led all scorers with 24 points and Justin Brue put in a career-high 20 as the UC San Diego men's basketball team outlasted visiting San Francisco State in a double-overtime thriller on Thursday night at RIMAC Arena.

The Tritons trailed by five early in the second extra period, but proceeded to score the game's final 10 points to put an end to their five-game losing streak in style.

UCSD, which hadn't won since knocking off Cal State L.A. in double OT on January 13, improves to 10-11 overall and 5-10 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play. The Tritons will look to ride the momentum from Thursday's victory into Saturday's matchup with Cal State Monterey Bay on Spirit Night.

San Francisco State, which had won four straight to climb to third place in the league standings entering Thursday's game, falls to 12-7 on the season and 10-5 in the CCAA.

"That was just a great victory for us all the way around," head coach Chris Carlson said. "I was just so pleased with our effort and the way we stayed together all night. When Christian went out we had a few other guys step up and we really hung in there together to pull out the win."

Hatch finished 8-of-12 from the field and 8-of-11 at the free throw line before fouling out with 2:44 remaining in the first overtime period. He had scored UCSD's first four points in the period before picking up his fifth personal.

Brue had his finest game as a Triton, finishing 10-of-16 from the field to narrowly eclipse his previous high of 18 points that came against Academy of Art back in November. In addition to recording his first-career 20-point performance, the Hayward native also grabbed five boards and blocked three shots.

Casey Ryan tallied his seventh double-double of the season, finishing with 10 points and a career-high-tying 20 rebounds, while James McCann scored 11 points and dished out a game-high six assists. Tyler McGrath had another big game for the Tritons off the bench, finishing with 14 points, seven boards and four assists.

Marquel Hoskins finished with 23 points, six rebounds and six assists to lead the Gators, while Phoenix O'Rourke and Nefi Perdomo scored 14 points apiece.

UCSD shot 45.5% from the field, while SFSU finished at a 43% clip. The Tritons were dominant on the glass, outrebounding the Gators by a 50-36 margin, while also outscoring the visitors 44-36 in the paint.

After missed free throws at the end of regular and in the first overtime gave San Francisco State an opportunity to hang around, it looked as though the Gators were going to put UCSD away in the second extra period, as Hoskins scored inside and Chad Delaney hit a three to put the visitor in front 82-77.

The Tritons came roaring back though, with Mike Meza and McGrath draining back-to-back threes to give UCSD the lead for good at 83-82 with 1:27 left in the period.

After Matt Fochtman missed two free throws on SFSU's next trip, the Tritons were able to capitalize, as McCann hit a pretty baseline jumper to extend UCSD's margin to three with 18 seconds remaining.

The final sequence proved to be just as wild as the previous two and a half hours, as Fochtman grabbed an offensive rebound and drew a foul with 3.4 seconds remaining. He was cut on the play and had to come out of the game, so, by rule, the Gator coaching staff was allowed to select a player off the bench to shoot the free throws.

Jamari Simmons got the call and missed the first attempt, leaving little hope for SFSU. His intentional miss on the second shot failed to hit the rim and the ball was awarded to the Tritons. McGrath followed with two free throws to put the victory on ice.

It was ironic that a missed free throw sealed it for the Tritons, as UCSD missed 10 free throws in the second half and overtime which could have ended things much sooner. Hatch had a chance to wrap it up at the end of regulation, but only hit 1-of-2, while Ryan missed four straight in the first overtime with UCSD leading by three. Simmons followed with a huge three at the buzzer to tie the game at 77 and send it to a second OT.

All told, the Tritons were 21-of-34 at the stripe, while the Gators hit 19-of-28.

UCSD's tilt with Cal State Monterey Bay is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at RIMAC Arena.

MBB Casino Night