The UC San Diego men’s basketball team capped off its four-game road trip with a disappointing loss on Saturday against Sonoma State University. Going into the matchup, UCSD was riding a seven-game win streak after earning a well-fought victory versus No.16 San Francisco State University on Friday. However, a snapped win streak and a first conference loss of the season does not dethrone the Tritons from first place on the California Collegiate Athletic Association standings. UCSD stands with a 14–3 overall record and 9–1 in conference play.
Game 1 v. San Francisco State
Friday night’s matchup against San Francisco State was a pivotal one given the conference standings leading up to the game. The Gators came in with one conference loss (6–1) while the Tritons had yet to taste defeat in conference play (8–0). UCSD had no problem taking on the challenge and earned a 67–55 victory, handing San Francisco State its first home loss of the season.
Junior guard Anthony Ballestero topped all players with a career-high 18 points, including five rebounds and a steal to add to his stat sheet. Twelve of his 18 points came from three-point land, hitting four of seven from long range. Ballestero helped to set the tone for the Tritons as they hit a total of seven three-pointers in the first half to add a bit of separation from the competition, leading 31–24 at the half.
Per usual, senior guard Adam Klie had himself a solid night with 14 points to go along with eight rebounds (game-high), five assists and two steals.
On the night, the Tritons shot 43.6 percent (24–55) from the field and did an exceptional job of not allowing the Gators to get into any rhythm as they struggled to find their shot, only hitting 31.6 percent (18–57).
While the Tritons earned the victory, they did turn the ball over a season-high 15 times throughout, which definitely will need some attention in the coming games. Taking care of the ball will only get that much more important as postseason looms closer.
The fight and overall play of the team had UCSD head coach Eric Olen satisfied with what he saw on the night, telling the Athletics Department, “I thought we played very well on both ends of the floor tonight … We shared the ball offensively and forced difficult shots on defense.”
Game 2 v. Sonoma State
UCSD’s win streak ended at seven games after Saturday night’s road defeat to Sonoma State, 48–54. Sonoma State inched closer to the top of the CCAA standings with an improved 7–2 conference record while UCSD maintains the top stop with a 9–1 record.
Klie had himself yet another 20-plus point scoring night (fourth of the season), finishing off with 22 points including five rebounds, three assists and a steal. Unfortunately, Klie and fellow teammates could not rely on sophomore center Chris Hansen after he was ruled out of the game due to back soreness. Hansen’s presence on the boards could have certainly made a huge impact on the final result.
Regardless, the Tritons had a bad shooting night as they only hit 37.5 percent of their shots (18–48) and only made six of their 21 three-point attempts. On the contrary, the Seawolves shot 45.9 percent (17–37) and 50 percent (6–12) from the three-point land.
The Tritons will look to get back to their winning ways when they return home and take on Cal State San Marcos on Thursday, Jan. 19. Cal State San Marcos has had a solid season so far, coming to the match with a 7–3 conference record and currently on a five-game win streak. While the Cougars have all the momentum in their favor, the Tritons will need to show resiliency after coming off their first conference loss of the season. The game is set to tip off at 7:30 p.m.