POMONA, Calif. - After overcoming a large point deficit, the UC San Diego men's basketball team lost to No. 6 Cal Poly Pomona, 52-51, on Thursday at Kellogg Gym in its first game of the new year.
"I thought we showed a lot of fight, we showed a lot of tenacity. We did a much better job of executing the things we wanted to execute. We were a lot better in our zone offense," said UCSD head coach Chris Carlson. "We only turned the ball over 11 times and out-rebounded them by five, so there's a lot of positives going forward."
The Tritons drop to 1-7 overall and 0-5 in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play. UCSD will travel North to take on Humboldt State (5-4, 1-4 CCAA) for a contest on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
UCSD was led by senior guard Tyler McGrath, who scored 11 points and had five rebounds and three assists. In just nine first-half minutes, senior forward Justin Brue averaged more than a point per minute with his 10 points. Brue also had seven rebounds.
Senior guard Mitchel Anderson of CPP earned a double-double with his 10 points and 11 rebounds. Anderson also had three assists and two blocks. Junior guard Terrence Drisdom led all scorers with his career-high 17 points and was present all over the stat sheet with his five rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block.
In the well-matched contest, both teams made 20 field goals and each had 13 assists. While the Tritons made eight treys to the Broncos' four, CPP converted eight free-throw attempts compared to UCSD's three. In addition, the Tritons' bench outscored the Broncos' bench, 19-5, and made eight more second-chance points than CPP, 11-3. However, the Broncos had a six-point edge in points in the paint, 22-16, and a seven-point advantage in points off of turnovers, 11-4, over the Tritons.
Behind by as many as 13 in the game at the end of a 7-0 CPP run to begin the second half, the Tritons came alive late in the closing frame from three-point range, making five treys in the final 20 minutes while the Broncos made none.
With only a point separating the teams, 46-45, and just 2:13 to go before the final buzzer, McGrath fielded a pass beyond the arch from junior guard James McCann and made a three-pointer, causing the game's first lead change and gave UCSD a 48-46 advantage.
Following Broncos freshman forward Jordan Faison's layup to tie the game, 48-48, junior guard/forward MacKenzie McCullough drained a trey to put the Tritons ahead, 51-48, with 1:17 left on the clock.
However in the final minute, Anderson scored the last four points for both his team and the game.
Anderson's layup with 47 seconds remaining made the score, 51-50. With only five seconds left, Anderson was fouled in the act of shooting, sending him to the free-throw line where he made both attempts, tying the game with his first before both making the game-winner and earning his double-double on the second.
Faison put the first four points on the board to start the contest upon sinking jumpers on consecutive possessions, 1:22 and 2:00 into the game, respectively.
After Faison's second jumper, senior guard Ryan Peters found Brue under the basket, and Brue made the layup to split the Broncos' lead in half, 4-2, with 17:46 to go in the first frame. Brue then tied the game, 4-4, with 17:19 remaining on another layup assisted by McGrath.
A 6-0 run followed for the Broncos, which began and ended on back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore guard Bryce Brady and Drisdom, respectively, at the 16:58 and 16:19 marks of the half.
Trailing 17-8 near the midway point of the opening half, Brue not only scored his ninth and 10th point of the game but also ignited an 8-0 Triton run. McGrath capped the run on his second trey, which occurred with 8:43 left in the first half to bring UCSD within a point, 17-16.
The Tritons were only a free throw away from tying the game, but the Broncos took notice of their diminished lead and went on another 6-0 run to bring their advantage back to seven.
UCSD was nine points behind going into the last minute of the first half, but freshman forward/guard Drew Dyer's three-pointer at the 40-second mark trimmed the deficit to six and UCSD entered the intermission, down 29-23.
"I thought we were a little sluggish in the first half," Carlson said. "I thought we were very fortunate to only be down six against the number six team in the country."
The Broncos (9-0, 5-0 CCAA) will host Cal State San Bernardino (7-1, 5-0 CCAA) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
-- UCSDtritons.com --