Tritons bounce back after tough loss

Photo by Megan Lee
Photo by Megan Lee

Looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss to Cal State Monterey Bay, the UCSD men’s basketball team was looking forward to two straight home games. The Tritons were clearly ready to move on from their recent loss, as they crushed Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State Los Angeles in consecutive nights to regain first place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. The Tritons have improved to a remarkable 15-3 overall and 10-2 in conference play to continue what has been a fantastic season.   Game One:   Playing in front of a record-breaking 3,924 people, the men’s basketball team stepped it up for their Spirit Night game against the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros. The Triton offense was hot out of the gate, going up 11-5 within the first five minutes of the game. Shooting for 15-26 overall in the first half, the Tritons had no trouble making their shots fall. By the end of the half, they amassed 37 points, leading by as many as 14 throughout the game’s opening act.   “The atmosphere was fantastic,” Head Coach Eric Olen told the Athletics Department about the turnout to the game. “I felt like our guys fed off of it.”   Leading the early surge were senior forward Drew Dyer and junior guard Adam Klie, who scored 11 and 10 points respectively, more than half of the team’s points for the half.   But it didn’t stop there, as the Tritons would build on their lead in the second, not allowing the Toros to spoil their night. Leading by as many as 23 points, the Tritons had their way with a porous defense that simply looked unprepared. The Tritons’ defense would not budge, allowing 16 of 49 shots overall and only four of 20 from three-point range throughout the game; the Tritons would go on to stomp the Toros 74-51 after never trailing at any point during the game.   Dyer led in scoring with 24 points and grabbed five rebounds along the way, while Klie had another fantastic outing, earning a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard George Buaku had a nice effort off the bench with 12 points and 2 steals.   The UCSD men’s basketball team improved to 14-3 overall and 9-2 in conference, while the Cal State Dominguez Hills dropped to 9-9 overall and 3-7 in conference play.   Game Two:   For the second night in a row, the Triton offense came out of the gate on fire. Shooting for 15-25 overall and a staggering eight of 10 from the three-point line in the first half, the Tritons could not be stopped as they punished Cal State Los Angeles’ mistakes on defense at every opportunity.   And for the second night in a row, Klie put forth a monster effort in the first half, scoring 14 points to go along with 5 assists, putting the Tritons up 44-29 by the end of the half. Junior guard Aleks Lipovic also helped the cause with eight points off of two three-pointers in 11 minutes of play.   While the Triton offense cooled off during the second half, their nine of 19 shooting was enough to allow the team to build on their already large lead to close out the game 79-55.   Dyer and Klie both lead the team with 17 points apiece, while Freshman center Chris Hansen had a solid line of 12 points and 4 rebounds.  Lipovic also cracked double digits with 10 points off of solid free-throw shooting, while sophomore guard Grant Jackson led the team in rebounds and assists, with six each.   Cal State Los Angeles continued their disappointing season, dropping to 3-15 overall and 2-9 in conference play.   UCSD will travel to enemy territory to play Humboldt State on Jan. 28. and Cal Poly Pomona on Jan. 30.