LA JOLLA, Calif. - In front of a crowd of nearly 3,900 on hand for the 26th Annual Spirit Night on Friday at RIMAC Arena, the UC San Diego men's basketball team outplayed Humboldt State en route to a 71-60 victory.
The Tritons, who have won four straight, climb to 9-9 overall and 8-7 in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play. UCSD puts its streak and above-.500 status in CCAA games on the line tomorrow against No. 4 Cal Poly Pomona (18-1, 14-1 CCAA) in a game scheduled to commence at 7:30 p.m. It will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1700.
The last time UCSD won at least four in a row was during a five-game win streak from Jan. 16-30, 2009, when the Tritons defeated Cal State Monterey Bay, San Francisco State, Cal State Stanislaus, Chico State and Sonoma State during the stretch.
Leading the charge and hitting all areas of the box score for the Tritons was senior guard Tyler McGrath, who led all scorers with 18 points to go along with a share of the game-high seven rebounds, two assists, one block and a steal.
Junior guard James McCann also made his presence known with 17 points, three rebounds and a game-high six assists while senior guard Ryan Peters contributed 14 points, three rebounds and a steal. In addition, freshman forward/guard Drew Dyer had 10 points and five rebounds.
Setting the standard for the Lumberjacks was junior forward Rakim Brown, who scored 15 points and put up a team-high six rebounds, one assist, one block and a steal. Helping the HSU cause were junior guard Austin Bryan with his 14 points, four rebounds and two steals, and junior forward Deaundray Robinson, who tallied 10 points, four rebounds and a game-high of three steals.
UCSD ended the game with a 23-for-51 (45.1%) performance from the field, which included an 11-for-24 (45.8%) effort for the first half and a 12-for-27 (44.4%) showing for the second half. Additionally, the Tritons outscored the Lumberjacks in the paint, 28-16, for the game.
The Tritons also did their part on the boards, grabbing 39 total rebounds, including 29 on defense. In contrast, the Lumberjacks had 33 rebounds in all and only 20 of those were on defense.
UCSD clung tightly to a narrow 30-29 lead as it entered the second half. However, timely baskets from all areas of the court allowed the Tritons to retain possession of the lead throughout the duration of the closing 20 minutes.
Midway through the second half, UCSD started to augment its lead by going on an 8-0 run. Senior forward Justin Brue capped the run on a layup with 10:39 remaining to put the Tritons up, 51-40.
Brown then trimmed the Tritons' lead to four points on a trey, 53-49, at the 8:33 mark. However, a layup and free throw by Peters, followed by a jumper from McGrath, returned the lead to a nine-point, 58-49 lead. McGrath's jumper occurred with 6:47 to go in the game.
While the Tritons spent the second half guarding their lead, they spent the first half trying to ascertain it during a wild 20-minute span that featured six ties and eight lead changes.
Down 26-24 after Robinson broke the fifth tie of the first half with a jumper to put HSU ahead, Peters tied the game, 26-26, with a layup at the 2:33 mark. Peters then scored the go-ahead layup, 28-26, with 1:47 to spare before halftime, and the Tritons held on to the lead for the rest of the game.
The ninth-place Lumberjacks, who drop to 9-10 overall and 5-10 in CCAA games, close the book on their road trip at second-place Cal State San Bernardino (14-4, 12-3 CCAA) on Saturday for a game set to tip off at 7:30 p.m.
The attendance of 3,897 was the second-largest ever recorded at RIMAC for a men's basketball game.
-- UCSDtritons.com --