LA JOLLA, Calif. - The UC San Diego men's basketball team will have to wait until 2013 to earn its first conference win after falling to Cal State San Bernardino for the second time this season, 73-58, at RIMAC Arena on Sunday.
The Tritons drop to 1-6 overall and 0-4 in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play. UCSD will open the new year on the road at No. 6 Cal Poly Pomona (8-0, 4-0 CCAA) in a game slated to start at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Senior guard Tyler McGrath led all scorers with 19 points. McGrath also had four rebounds and a steal. Junior guard James McCann scored 13 points and had three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The Coyotes were led by senior forward Kwame Alexander, who was all over the stat sheet with his 18 points, team-high eight rebounds, two assists and three steals. Alexander was supported by junior guard Lacy Haddock's 13 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Alexander also had a share of the game-high two blocks with senior forward Justin Brue, who scored eight points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
Points off of turnovers and bench points were the deciding factors in this game. The Coyotes outscored the Tritons in both categories by totals of 22-3 and 26-11, respectively. CSUSB also scored eight more points from the paint than UCSD, 24-16.
Deadlocked at the half, 35-35, the Tritons and Coyotes proceeded to even the score on three more times during the closing 20 minutes. The last tie occurred at the 14:24 mark when Alexander hit a jumper to tie the game, 41-41.
Senior forward/center Colin Porter made a layup to break the tie and gave the Tritons a 43-41 lead with 14:04 to go in the game.
Down 44-43 with 13:25 left in regulation, Brue hit a jumper and pushed UCSD to a slim, 45-44 lead.
Unfortunately, the lead was short-lived when Alexander flipped the one-point differential in the Coyotes' favor on account of his layup, making the score, 46-45, with 12:35 to play in the game while kicking off a 6-0 scoring run.
In addition, the Coyotes later went on a 7-0 run and another 6-0 run. The largest stretch of points the Tritons were able to put together after the 6-0 run was capped off was four. The four points were scored on a free throw by sophomore center/forward Brandon Blanchard and a trey by McGrath and accounted for UCSD's final four points of the game.
McGrath's three-pointer made the score, 66-58, with 1:29 left in the game. However, the Coyotes closed the game on a 7-0 run, commenced and concluded by free throws from Haddock.
The Coyotes opened the game with an 8-0 run, started by junior guard Juan Martinez's three-pointer 39 seconds into the game. UCSD responded with a 9-0 run, bookended by McGrath's three-point play and three-pointer. The trey was made at the 15:03 mark of the first half and signified the first of nine first-half lead changes.
Down by a point, 33-32, with 38 seconds before halftime, freshman guard/forward Hunter Walker drilled a three-pointer to put the Tritons ahead, 35-33. But a layup by CSUSB junior guard/forward Joshua Gouch with 10 seconds left tied the game at 35-35, marking the fifth tie of the first half.
For the game, the Coyotes shot more accurately than the Tritons in every category. From the field, CSUSB made 27 of 58 (46.6%) compared to UCSD, which made 18 of 51 (35.3%). The Coyotes went 7-for-18 (38.9%) from three-point range while the Tritons went 7-for-21 (33.3%). At the line, the Coyotes converted 12 of 18 (66.7%) attempts and the Tritons made 15 of their 23 (65.2%) attempts.
The Coyotes (6-1, 4-0 CCAA) will travel to Humboldt State (5-3, 1-3 CCAA) for a game on Thursday, set to tip off at 7:30 p.m.
-- UCSDtritons.com --