SAN FRANCISCO - In spite of a narrow deficit going into halftime, the UC San Diego men's basketball team suffered a 70-55 loss to San Francisco State at The Swamp on Friday.
"I felt we did a good job in the first half with our offense getting quality shots and our defense having some good stretches," said Tritons head coach Chris Carlson. "However, you can't get out-rebounded by 13 in the second half and expect success on the road."
The Tritons drop to 5-10 overall and 4-8 against California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) competition. UCSD will try to get back into the win column with a game on Saturday at Sonoma State (6-9, 4-7 CCAA), which is slated for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
Senior guard Tyler McGrath scored a team-high 15 points and contributed five rebounds and two assists. Freshman guard/forward Hunter Walker scored a career-high 13 points and also had a rebound, two assists and a steal.
Junior guard/forward William Overton, Jr. scored a game-high 24 points and also grabbed four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Junior guard Calvin Otiono was responsible for 21 points, two rebounds and a game-high five assists while senior forward Winston Demmin scored 10 points and had four rebounds and a block. Senior guard/forward Decensae White tallied six points, a game-high 10 rebounds and an assist.
UCSD was outdone by the Gators in every shooting category in regards to accuracy. Though the Tritons hit eight of 26 (30.8%) three-point attempts, three more than the 5-for-14 (35.7%) effort of the Gators for the game, UCSD made only 20 of 50 (40.0%) attempts from the field compared to SFSU, which hit 26 of 50 (52.0%) attempts. In addition, UCSD went 7-for-12 (58.3%) at the free-throw line while the Gators made 13 of 17 (76.5%).
Only down by two at the half, 31-29, the Tritons trimmed their deficit to a point, 35-34, when senior forward/center Colin Porter successfully converted a three-point play at the 16:53 mark.
But 20 seconds later, a trey by Overton, Jr. brought the Gators' lead back to a 38-34 advantage and was followed by White's tip-in with 15:54 left in the game.
Down 42-38, the Tritons saw their deficit grow from four to 10 upon the conclusion of a SFSU 6-0 run, which ended on a pair of free throws from White and made the score, 48-38, with 12:12 remaining.
UCSD remained a few possessions behind the Gators during the middle portion of the closing half. But a trey by junior guard James McCann at the 6:13 reading, which kept the Tritons within nine points of the Gators, 59-50, was followed by a 5:10 drought during which the Gators went on an 11-0 run. Demmin's free throw just 1:16 prior to the final buzzer capped off the run.
Walker then ended UCSD's drought by making a pair of free throws at the 1:03 mark before sinking a three-pointer, 70-55, with 21 seconds to go in the game.
While the second half had no ties or lead changes, the first half was a much different story, containing three ties and 10 lead changes.
UCSD earned its first lead of the game at the 18:04 reading, when McGrath drained a three-pointer to put the Tritons ahead, 5-4. After losing the lead on the next possession, senior guard Ryan Peters made a layup with 16:52 left in the first half, giving the Tritons a 7-6 lead.
However, a dunk by junior forward Brandon Tatum gave the Gators possession of the lead at the 16:25 mark, 8-7, which they held on to for more than six minutes.
Senior forward Justin Brue's tip-in with 10:31 to go before the half tied the game, 14-14. Following a pair of free throws by Overton, Jr. at the 10:04 mark, the Tritons went on an 8-0 run. The run was completed by McGrath's trey with 7:52 left before halftime and gave UCSD a 22-16 lead.
However, the Gators responded and turned their six-point deficit into a three-point lead after completing a 9-0 run, which was highlighted by Overton, Jr.'s tie-breaking trey with 3:56 left in the opening frame and put the Gators up by a score of 25-22.
Three more lead changes occurred in as many minutes. The third of those lead changes was on account of McGrath's three-pointer only 48 seconds prior to the intermission, which gave the Tritons a 29-27 advantage.
But Tatum, who tied the score at 29-29 with 36 seconds remaining in the half on a layup, beat the buzzer on a tip-in to give the Gators both the lead, 31-29, and the momentum going into the second half.
With their next game on Saturday, Carlson and the Tritons have very little transition time and must move forward from the loss.
"We have to regroup and get ready for tomorrow against a good Sonoma team," Carlson said.
The Gators (9-6, 7-4 CCAA) will host the Coyotes of Cal State San Bernardino (11-3, 9-2 CCAA) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. to complete their homestand.
-- UCSDtritons.com --