LOS ANGELES -
The UC San Diego men's basketball team held an 11-point lead with 13 and a half minutes to play, but it wasn't enough as Cal State L.A. came all the way back to claim a 64-62 victory on Saturday evening at The Eagles Nest.
David Norris scored seven points in the final four minutes, including the go-ahead basket with 1:22 left as the Golden Eagles closed the game on a 12-3 run to even the season series with the Tritons at one game apiece. CSULA held the Tritons without a basket over the final 4:40 of the game.
With the win, Cal State L.A. improves to 14-10 overall and 10-10 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play, while also securing a spot in the CCAA Tournament in two weeks.
UCSD, which kept its postseason hopes alive with a huge 61-59 win at No. 13 Cal State Dominguez Hills on Friday, falls to 11-15 overall and 6-14 in the CCAA, falling out of contention for the eighth and final berth in next month's CCAA Tournament. The Tritons will now wrap up the season at defending national champion Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State San Bernardino next weekend.
Franklin Session scored 20 points and eight rebounds to lead the Golden Eagles, while Chris Robinson finished with 20 points and four boards. The two combined to score 40 of Cal State L.A.'s 64 points in the game.
Justin Brue scored 17 points for the second night in a row to lead the Tritons, while Christian Hatch put in 14. Casey Ryan tallied his eighth double-double of the season with 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
UCSD shot 49% from the field, while Cal State L.A. shot 41%. The Golden Eagles had a slim 33-31 rebounding edge and forced the Tritons into 12 turnovers, while only committing four on the other end. UCSD was 14-of-18 at the free throw line, while CSULA was 12-of-20.
The Golden Eagles had the upper hand early on and held a 20-13 lead after a basket by Carl Hoffman with eight minutes left in the first half. UCSD battled back though, tying the game at 26 at halftime following a basket by Brue at the buzzer.
The Tritons carried the momentum into the second half and built their biggest lead of the game at 42-31 after another bucket by Brue with 13:20 remaining. The Tritons still maintained a double-digit advantage at 53-43 with nine minutes left after a pair of free throws by James McCann.
The Golden Eagles tightened up on defense at that point and forced a few key turnovers to chip away at UCSD's lead. A pair of free throws by Norris made it 61-59 with three minutes left and Session got a steal and a layup to tie the game at 61-61 with two minutes to play.
Ryan made a free throw to give the Tritons a 62-61 lead with 1:39 on the clock, but a jumper by Norris put the Golden Eagles ahead for good, 63-62. Cal State L.A. then forced a turnover and Session maintained possession for the Golden Eagles after a missed shot by Robinson. Norris was fouled with 30 seconds left and made one free throw to make it 64-62.
Leland Jones grabbed a rebound of Hatch's missed shot with two seconds left to end it.
UCSD has been no stranger to close games this season. Including both of this weekend's contests, the Tritons have played a total of 10 games decided by five points or less in 2010-11. The Tritons are just 3-7 in those games, including their 76-73 double overtime victory over Cal State L.A. in the first meeting of the year on January 13.