Trailing 28-18 at halftime, UCSD scored the first nine points of the second half to pull within one, but San Francisco State answered with a 12-3 run of its own and pulled away for the win. The Tritons struggled offensively for the second consecutive game, shooting a season-low 25% from the field in the loss.
San Francisco State, which snapped a six-game losing streak with the victory, improves to 5-15 overall and 3-11 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play, while UCSD falls to 7-12 on the season and 3-11 in conference. The Tritons have lost three in a row after winning two straight earlier this month.
Nefi Perdomo scored game-high 19 points for the Gators, who shot 37% (16-43) for the game. The junior guard finished 3-of-6 from the field and hit 12 of his 16 free throws to go with six rebounds and four assists. Max Fodor recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while James Albright scored 10.
McCann paced the Tritons for the fourth time in six games, finishing 4-of-11 from the field. He added two rebounds and three assists. Brue was just 2-of-9 from the floor, but converted 7-of-9 at the foul line and snared a team-high 10 rebounds.
McCann and Brue combined for 25 of the Tritons' 45 points.
After scoring just 50 points on 28% shooting in an eight-point loss to league-leading Cal Poly Pomona on Thursday, UCSD's offense was even worse on Saturday as the Tritons converted just 14 field goals on 56 attempts from the field. UCSD was an anemic 2-of-20 from the three-point line, a season-low 10%.
The Tritons trailed by as many as 13 in the opening period, but Colin Porter scored inside and then hit a free throw to bring UCSD to within 10 at the break.
McCann hit a three on the Tritons' first possession of the second half, sparking a 9-0 run that brought UCSD to within 28-27 with 15 and a half minutes remaining. UCSD was not able to overtake SFSU though as the Gators scored 12 of the next 15 points to extend their lead to 40-30 with 6:39 left to play.
The Tritons made one final push, closing to within six (46-40) on a triple by Mike Meza with 2:21 on the clock, but Albright and Perdomo answered with buckets for the Gators to put the home team on top by 10 at 51-41 with 71 seconds left.
UCSD would get no closer than nine the rest of the way.
San Francisco State outscored UCSD 24-14 in the paint and held a 21-8 edge in bench scoring. The Tritons were without two starters for the second straight game as Christian Hatch and Ryan Peters sat out with injuries.
UCSD and SFSU spit two meetings this season, with the Tritons claiming the first matchup of the year, 72-50, on December 29 in La Jolla.
UC San Diego will now return home for four straight over the next two weeks, beginning with a matchup against Cal State L.A. on Friday evening on Spirit Night.