HAYWARD, Calif. - The University of California San Diego men's basketball team overcame an 11-point second-half deficit to earn a 73-68 win at conference opponent Cal State East Bay Saturday afternoon. It was the sixth-consecutive victory for the Tritons.
UC San Diego improved to 12-5 overall and 9-2 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), while Cal State East Bay dropped to 8-10 and 4-8.
"I'm really proud of our guys and the way they competed tonight," said UCSD head coach Eric Olen. "Cal State East Bay made it very difficult for us, but we never stopped fighting. We had a lot of guys make big plays late in the game in order to pull it out."
Tied 31-31 at halftime, the Pioneers opened up a nine-point lead (44-35) in the first five minutes of the second stanza. They later upped their advantage to 11 points on two occasions, the second time coming with 11:35 left in the period when they led 50-39. However, the Tritons rallied and scored the next eight points, closing the gap to three (50-47) with 9:32 left. Junior guard Christian Oshita had five points during the pivotal run.
CSUEB managed to stay in front until UCSD junior guard Christian Bayne was fouled on a made layup with just 35 seconds remaining on the clock. He sunk the free throw, giving UC San Diego a 69-68 lead, the first time the Tritons were ahead since the 5:38 mark of the opening half. Oshita and Bayne made two more free throws each before the last buzzer to account for the final score.
UC San Diego scored the last 10 points of the game, which included a three-pointer by Oshita.
Bayne matched a career-high with 28 points (24 in the second half) to lead all players in scoring. He was 10-for-17 shooting and a perfect 8-of-8 at the free throw line. No surprise as he came into the game ranked 19th nationally with his .909 free throw percentage. Following Saturday's performance, he is shooting .916 (98-107) for the season from the charity stripe.
Oshita finished with 16 points and made all nine of his free throw attempts. He also led the Tritons with seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Scott Everman scored all 12 of his points in the first half, draining four three-pointers. Senior forward Michael Shoemaker had seven points, while Bayne and senior guard George Buaku each had three assists.
UCSD shot .407 (22-54) for the game, improving its mark to .444 (12-27) in the second half after hitting at .370 (10-27) in the first. The Tritons were 15-for-15 from the free throw line in the later half.
Kyle Frakes led Cal State East Bay with 21 points and completed a double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds. He was 10-for-11 shooting. Drew Bender had 14 points and Juwan Anderson dished out 10 assists.
East Bay out-rebounded UCSD, 37-30. Turnovers were kept to a minimum as the Tritons had a season-low four and the Pioneers had six.
The first half was tight with neither team gaining more than a five-point advantage. The score was tied seven times and the lead changed on five occasions. Everman's fourth trey of the half evened the score heading into the intermission.
UC San Diego plays its next three games at home, starting with Stanislaus State on Thursday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m. The Tritons defeated the Warriors, 70-58, on December 31 in Turlock.