LA JOLLA, Calif. - The UC San Diego men's basketball team stayed close in the final moments of its contest against Cal State Dominguez Hills on Saturday at RIMAC Arena, but fell 58-57 after losing the lead at the half.
The Tritons drop to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in games against California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) opponents. UCSD will next host Pacifica on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 1 p.m.
Senior guard Tyler McGrath led all scorers with 19 points and also had three rebounds, one assist and a game-high three steals. Nine of McGrath's points came off of three-pointers.
Freshman forward Drew Dyer supported McGrath with his 13-point effort in addition to a team-leading six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Junior forward DeShaun Freeman set the tone for the deep Toros with his 14 points, four rebounds and one assist.
Although the Tritons made nine more points off turnovers than the Toros, the CSUDH bench scored nearly six times as many points as UCSD's non-starters (29-5).
Emerging the second half with a seven-point lead, 36-29, the Tritons extended it in the opening minute with Dyer's layup and junior guard James McCann's successful trip to the free-throw line to give UCSD a 40-31 lead. McCann finished with 10 points, three rebounds and two assists.
The contest began to turn in the Toros' favor, however, after a 6-0 run trimmed the Triton lead to five. The Toros' run was capped off by Freeman's layup, making the score, 40-35, at the 17:55 mark.
McGrath returned the lead back to eight with a trey, 43-35, with 16:04 remaining, but that preceded a 7-0 CSUDH run which junior forward Ramon Williams topped off with a layup at the 14:26 mark while bringing the Toros within a free throw of the Tritons, 43-42.
The Tritons last lengthened their lead on Dyer's layup with 13:32 left to play, making the score, 45-42.
Unfortunately, the Toros went on a 6-0 run. With 12:34 to go in regulation, the run was highlighted by senior guard Myron Green's trip to the free-throw line in which he tied the game with his first shot and gave the Toros the lead, 46-45, with his second. The Toros retained possession of the lead the rest of the way.
UCSD was down by as many as five points on two occasions in the closing minutes, the last of which occurred when junior forward Givon Crump made his only points of the game on a layup to make the score 58-53 at the 3:36 mark.
After McGrath made both of his free throws to cut the Toros' lead to three, 58-55, with 2:07 left in the game, UCSD took advantage of a CSUDH offensive foul when senior forward Justin Brue made a layup with 56 seconds to go to bring the Tritons within a point, 58-57.
On the Toros' next possession, McCann rebounded the ball on Freeman's missed jumper. Upon coming out of a timeout, the Tritons had a chance to win the game, but the ball was bobbled, killing time off the clock. McCann and Dyer attempted jumpers, but McCann's was blocked by Williams with 16 seconds to go while Dyer's shot missed two seconds before the final buzzer sounded.
The Toros opened the game with a 2-0 lead on Freeman's layup 29 seconds after the opening tipoff. McCann responded with a three-pointer to give the Tritons a 3-2 lead just 1:04 into the game.
UCSD maintained the lead for the rest of the first half but noticeably made it bigger in the form of a 7-0 run, which McCann put the icing on by hitting a three-pointer to give the Tritons a 34-25 lead with 2:48 to play in the opening half.
Dyer's jumper with two seconds left in the first half brought the Tritons to a seven-point, 36-29 lead, which they took into the intermission.
-- UCSDtritons.com --