Men's basketball splits two games against CCAA rivals

    The Tritons pulled off an upset on Jan. 9 by beating Cal Poly Pomona in a thrilling game, 65-64, at RIMAC Arena. On the following night on the same floor, however, the UCSD men’s basketball team fell 75-56 to Cal State San Bernardino.

    Anna MacMurdo
    Guardian

    Cal Poly Pomona was ranked fifth in the country to start the season at the Division II level and a favorite to win the California Collegiate Athletic Association crown.

    Playing in front of an enthusiastic UCSD crowd at RIMAC Arena, the Tritons found a way to hang on for the victory. The Tritons led by as many as 12 points late in the second half, but the Broncos refused to go out without a fight, almost overcoming an eight-point Triton lead with just 51 seconds remaining in the game. The Tritons missed two free throws with 1.8 seconds remaining, but the ball was tipped on the rebound attempt causing the clock to expire and preserving the Triton victory.

    After the game, a fired up UCSD men’s basketball head coach Greg Lanthier was happy to escape with a big win.

    “”We’re young, and we will take it any way we can,”” Lanthier said.

    The Tritons were led by a solid performance from sophomore guard Matthew Sweany who had 19 points. Sweany shot 6-of-10 from the floor and went 5-of-6 from the free throw line. While Sweany had his outside stroke going, junior center Jesse Boyd dominated the paint, scoring 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting and collected eight big rebounds. However, this game was a total team effort as the Tritons played gritty basketball against a tough team.

    “”We’ve got players,”” Lanthier said. “”We have guys that can flat out play!””

    Jeff Bonds led Cal Poly Pomona with a team-high 19 points and eight rebounds. He was the lone double-digit scorer for the Broncos.

    UCSD’s third win in a row improved its record to 4-6 overall, 4-1 in the CCAA, marking by far the Tritons best-ever start since moving to Division II. This is a different basketball team than the one that played opening night, Lanthier said, and they have come out and played inspired and gutsy basketball.

    “”The difference has been our preparation,”” Lanthier said. “”We have made the commitment as a team after the holiday break to practice and prepare hard for games so we can play up to our capabilities.””

    This game marked the beginning of a four-game homestand for the Tritons.

    “”We have proven we can win on the road, but it is a definite advantage for us to be playing at home,”” Lanthier said.

    However, playing at home did not help the Tritons the next night, when they lost to defending CCAA champions Cal State San Bernardino. The Tritons had kept up with the Coyotes, posting eight three-point baskets and tying them at halftime. But UCSD fell in the second half, committing eight turnovers and allowing Cal State San Bernardino to have 13-0 and 7-0 scoring runs to secure their double-digit victory.

    The Coyotes’ had four players reach double digits in scoring with Eric Swan’s game-leading 18 points, Jonathan Levy and Dumas Martin’s 16 points apiece and T.K. Reed’s 11 points.

    UCSD managed to have two players score in double figures, junior forward Brandon Francis, who contributed 12 points, and red-shirt freshman forward Adam Reinking, who tallied 11 points and added a team-high seven rebounds.

    With the win, the Coyotes improve to 10-1 overall and 6-0 in the CCAA, placing them first in the conference.

    The Tritons return to action at home next weekend on Jan. 16 and Jan. 17 when they host UC Davis and Chico State, respectively. Tip-off for both games is at 7:30 p.m. at RIMAC arena.

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