Tritons Topple Two CCAA Foes

    MEN’S BASKETBALL — The Tritons returned home this weekend
    and continued a season-long trend, defeating Cal Poly Pomona on Jan. 18, 55-52,
    and No. 5 Cal State San Bernardino by a 76-65 final score on Jan. 19 to improve
    their home record to a perfect 7-0. Overall, UCSD now stands at 9-4 and has
    improved to 6-2 in the ultra-competitive California Collegiate Athletic
    Association, good enough for a second-place tie in conference standings.

    The Tritons battled with Cal State San Bernardino throughout
    most of the first half with five ties and five lead changes nearly
    three-quarters of the way through the opening period. However, UCSD closed the
    half strong, holding the Coyotes to just one field goal while forcing six
    turnovers in the final six minutes of the half. Junior forward Darryl Lawlor’s
    lay-up right before the buzzer gave UCSD an eight-point cushion heading into
    intermission. While Cal State San Bernardino converted 54.5 percent of their field-goal
    attempts in the first half, the Tritons fared even better, with a 61.9
    field-goal shooting percentage.

    “We knew this was a great team we were coming up against and
    we knew it was going to be a total team effort if we were going to come out
    victorious,” junior guard Alan Husted said.

    The second half began like the first ended, this time with
    junior forward Henry Patterson’s lay-up opening UCSD’s scoring and giving the
    Tritons a double-digit advantage. The Coyotes proved their season-long high
    ranking, putting together a 13-2 run over the next three-and-a-half minutes and
    retaking the lead at 41-40. But UCSD did not back down after Cal State San
    Bernardino’s surge, with Lawlor connecting on a three off an assist from senior
    guard Clint Allard. The Tritons would not trail the rest of the game. While the
    Coyotes climbed within one possession on three occasions during the final eight
    minutes of the half, UCSD came up with big stops and big shots. Three-pointers
    by Lawlor and sophomore guard Jordan Lawley and two lay-ups from Patterson put
    the Tritons ahead by as much as 13 entering the final minute of the upset win.

    “Coach has been stressing ‘respect everyone, fear no one,’
    and tonight that really hit home,” Patterson said. “Down the stretch we just
    pulled away; killer instinct kicked in finally.”

    UCSD continued to demonstrate its improved offense,
    converting 66.7 percent of its field-goal attempts — 61.1 percent from
    three-point range — as they missed only five of 18 shots in second half.
    Lawley joined Patterson in scoring double-digits for UCSD with 13 points, while
    Clint Allard had nine points, a game-high eight assists and four rebounds.
    Junior guard Kelvin Kim was the leading Triton scorer of the evening with 16
    points, converting 4-of-5 shots, all from three-point range, while playing with
    a dislocated thumb.

    “Our athletic trainer Kevin Messey did a great job of taking
    care of me,” Kim said. “I did some therapy on it, got it taped up, and it felt
    fine today. I thought the tape was going to hinder me, but during the game I
    wasn’t thinking about it. I’ll be taping my finger every game from now on.”

    The Tritons did not find the same offensive efficiency early
    on against Cal Poly Pomona on Jan. 18. After opening the game with a Lawlor
    lay-up off of an Allard assist, the Tritons would score only five more points
    during the next 12 minutes of the game, going scoreless for a nearly
    four-and-a-half-minute stretch from the 12-minute mark until 7:36 was left in
    the half. Despite being down 12 and struggling to score, head coach Chris
    Carlson was able to get the best out of his club to close the half. UCSD turned
    the tide by returning the favor on the defensive end, holding the Broncos to an
    over four-and-a-half-minute scoring drought. The Tritons also found their offensive
    rhythm, nearly tripling their output from the first 12 minutes during the final
    seven-and-a-half. UCSD closed the half on a 20-4 run, getting firepower off
    three-pointers by Husted, Lawley and Kim, and went into the break up 27-23.

    The Broncos tied the game at 15:29 in the second half as the
    teams found themselves tied on three occasions and traded the lead seven times
    in a seven-minute stretch. Husted again stepped up in a big way off the bench,
    nailing back-to-back three-pointers off Lawley passes that helped the Tritons
    to retake and then extend their lead to four.

    “Coach has a lot of confidence in me [and] tells me to shoot
    the ball,” said Husted, who scored 11 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting
    night. “With the shots there, I was just trying to do whatever I can do to help
    us out. Fortunately they went in at good times in the game.”

    Despite having a lead, the game was contested until the
    final buzzer, with UCSD never building more than a five-point advantage. The
    Broncos had a chance to tie the game at the free-throw line with 2:19
    remaining, but Donnelle Booker connected on only one of two. Neither team
    scored again until Lawlor found Patterson for a wide-open lay-up with 20
    seconds remaining.

    “I was trying to get open all game and then the most crucial
    play of the game I was wide open,” Patterson said. “Usually people miss lay-ups
    when they’re that wide open, but it was a good play and it worked out in our
    favor.”

    The Broncos were unable to connect on two three-point
    chances before the buzzer as the Tritons held on for the close win in front of
    a season-high 1,209 fans.

    Kim again led the Tritons in scoring with 12 points, while
    junior forward Shane Poppen had eight points and a game-high eight rebounds.

    The Tritons, now at the halfway point of the regular season,
    have a chance to tie and even surpass their 10-win total from last season
    against another pair of CCAA opponents this weekend. UCSD faces San Francisco
    State on Jan. 25 and Cal State Monterey Bay on Jan. 26, with both games
    scheduled for 7:30 p.m. tip-off at RIMAC Arena.

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