Men’s basketball drops final games

    The UCSD men’s basketball team ended its season on a sour note after dropping its final two games on the road. A 74-59 loss to San Francisco State on March 4 at the Swamp was followed by a season-ending 67-52 loss to Sonoma State on March 5. The Tritons end the season at 11-16 overall and 7-13 in California Collegiate Athletic Association conference play.

    Anna MacMurdo
    Good start:

    The March 5 game between Sonoma State (16-11 overall, 13-7 CCAA) and UCSD was the regular season finale for both teams. The Seawolves came out with the knowledge that there was a lot at stake, as a victory would be another stepping stone to a possible NCAA regional bid. After the Tritons scored six points in the opening three minutes of the game, Sonoma State held the team to only four over the next six and a half minutes, while building up an 11-point lead. UCSD pulled to within six before the Seawolves pushed their lead back to 12 after a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Ryan Hensel that made him Sonoma State’s career leader in three-point field goals made.

    Sonoma State came out in the second half and was able to extend its lead from there, taking a 21-point advantage less than five minutes into the half after Hensel’s second three-pointer of the game, and the final of his career. The Tritons were determined not to fall in their final game of the season without a fight. The tough-minded team pulled to within 10 points following a lay-up by freshman guard Andrew Hatch with 7 minutes, 26 seconds left in the game. Unfortunately, the team could get no closer than that, as the Seawolves held on for the win.

    The Seawolves got a strong overall team performance, with four of their five starters scoring in double-figures. Barry Weiss led the team with a game-high 16 points, while Vince Inglima added 15 points, Hensel had 10 and J.T. Tipton notched a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

    Conversely, UCSD was without a single player scoring in double digits. Instead, sophomore guard Robby Peters came off the bench to lead the team in scoring with nine points. Junior guard/forward David Retzlaff also came off the bench for five boards to go along with his four points. Hatch had a solid game, with eight points and seven rebounds, and sophomore guard Mark Lewkowitz, after his game-winning buzzer-beater last weekend, had eight points and tied the team-high with two assists.

    After a 61-58 victory over San Francisco State (14-12 overall, 11-8 CCAA) earlier in the season, the Tritons found themselves unable to duplicate that success on March 4 at the Swamp on the San Francisco campus. The Gators got out to an early 10-3 lead before UCSD responded with an 8-3 run of its own, cutting the deficit to 14-11. The Tritons, however, would never again find themselves as close as that three-point margin. The Gators, shooting a strong 54.2 percent from the field in the first half, nearly doubled the Triton’s 36.8-percent first-half shooting, taking a 33-21 lead into intermission.

    The Tritons looked like they might be able to make another run in the second half, scoring the first four points after the break. While unable to sustain a huge run off of their start, UCSD played hard, deterring the Gators from extending their lead. With 11:53 left to play in the game, a three-pointer by Retzlaff pulled the team to within eight points. However, San Francisco State went on a strong 13-2 run over the next five minutes and pushed the game out of reach.

    Mike Dyer came off the bench and poured in a game-high 23 points to lead San Francisco State to the conference win. Joe Robertson recorded his fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

    On the UCSD side, it was another reserve player leading the way in scoring, as Peters put in 15 points. Hatch added 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while fellow freshman guard Clint Allard chipped in with eight points and four rebounds.

    Overall, the Tritons were outworked on the glass, as San Francisco State won the rebounding battle, 38-23. The Gators also helped their efforts with nine steals and moved the ball around better with 18 total assists to the Tritons’ 12. The shooting percentages from the field were close, with UCSD making 45.7 percent and San Francisco State making 49.1 percent of their shots. However, while the Gators converted 42.1 percent from three-point range and 75 percent of their free-throws, the Tritons went 31.6 percent from long distance and a dismal 57.9 percent from the charity stripe.

    Even after the pair of road losses, the season provided many bright spots for the Tritons. The team, losing only one senior in guard Daniel Liu, has a strong nucleus of young and now experienced players.

    In head coach Bill Carr’s inaugural season at UCSD, the Tritons recorded 11 wins, setting a new high for UCSD since moving to Division II and surpassing the old mark of nine, set in 2003-04.

    The team also finished with a winning record for the first time in their brief Division II history at home, going 8-7 at RIMAC Arena.

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