The No. 5 UC San Diego Tritons men’s basketball team defeated the second-ranked California State University, San Bernardino Coyotes this past Saturday, 87–59. Following the home win at RIMAC Arena, the Tritons move to an impressive 17–1 overall mark including 11–1 in conference play, while the loss pushes the Coyotes to 14–4 overall and 9–3 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play.
The Coyotes were coming into the game on a hot steak, having won eight straight games, but whatever heat they had would end after playing the Tritons. The first half provided a lot of fireworks offensively as UCSD was hitting from deep early, often courtesy of a thrilling display of shooting from redshirt sophomore guard Tyrell Roberts.
After some chippy play early on, involving back-to-back offensive fouls, the second-year starter completely took over, knocking down 6 three-pointers and 30 first-half points. The “oohs” and “ahhs” echoed throughout RIMAC as fans cheered on Roberts’ spectacular performance. Roberts’ shooting, along with a stout defensive effort by the Tritons gave UCSD a 48–24 lead heading into the half.
The second half was a lot of the same for the Tritons as they got more players involved while also extending their lead to 34 points, as they cruised to an 80–46 lead with 7:47 minutes left in the period. The first half was all Roberts, but junior guard Gabe Hadley made sure not to be forgotten as he put on his own shooting exhibit. The New Mexico State University transfer, who is originally from Australia, could do no wrong when he had his hands on the ball, knocking in 13 points in the second half, 15 points for the game, on near-perfect 4–6 shooting from deep, which included a four-point play.
For most of the second half, UCSD remained on cruise control, while maintaining their lead and ultimately took care of business. Although it may have been overshadowed by mesmerizing offensive showings from the Tritons, the team played elite team defense in the win, limiting CSUSB to an abysmal 37 percent from the field while also forcing them into 15 turnovers.
Junior guard Mikey Howell had another stat-stuffing performance as he recorded 8 points, 6 assists, and 5 boards for the Tritons. Roberts scored a game-high 33 points while setting a team record in three-pointers made, 7, and tying his previously owned team record with 11 field goals made in a single game.
“As soon as the third one went in, I knew I was going to have one of those nights,” Roberts said postgame.
Roberts also showed love to his teammates. “What makes this team so cool [is that] any [one] can go for 30 on any given night,” Roberts said.
From his Curry-esque pre-game routine of launching 35-foot shots to warming up doing acrobatic dribbling drills with multiple basketballs to putting up more shots postgame — after many others had already left — it’s clear his preparation and work ethic are paying off.
The win on Saturday makes it 9 straight for UCSD. The Tritons play their next game on Thursday where they’ll face San Francisco State University (8–10).