Tritons Regain form VS. Regional Rival GCU

    MEN’S BASKETBALL — After its second weekend in the past
    three weeks of back-to-back overtime games, a Tuesday night game against a
    regional opponent might not have been what the UCSD men’s basketball team was
    hoping for. Still, after a slow start, the Tritons showed the energetic play
    that they will need to carry them through the second half of the season, ending
    a two-game skid with a 62-52 win over visiting Grand
    Canyon
    University

    on Jan. 29. The win put UCSD over the double-digit plateau with a 10-6 overall
    record.

    Head coach Chris Carlson’s Tritons found themselves in a
    hole early against the Antelopes, scoring only seven points through nearly 10
    minutes of action and piling up eight missed shots and two turnovers. Senior
    guard Clint Allard, the conference leader in assists and UCSD’s second-leading
    rebounder, took the lead offensively midway through the first half. Two
    three-pointers and a lay-up from Allard, along with a three-pointer from junior
    guard Kelvin Kim, gave UCSD an 11-2 run that cut Grand Canyon’s lead from 13 to
    four. The two teams traded baskets over the final five minutes with GCU
    maintaining a slim four-point lead heading into the break.

    Senior guard Clint Allard puts a shot up from long distance in front of a record crowd on Spirit Night. (Will Parson/Guardian File)

    The narrow gap was even more impressive considering the
    Tritons shot only 39.1 percent from the field in the first half, compared to
    63.2 percent field-goal shooting for the Antelopes.

    “We hadn’t shot the ball real well in the first half, and
    that was a key going into the second half,” Carlson said.

    While usually a tablesetter, Allard also took it on himself
    to change UCSD’s second-half fortunes.

    “I was just thinking of being aggressive tonight,” he said.
    “Everyone was setting good screens, and I had a guy that I felt I could get
    some points on.”

    An active Allard was on display as he opened the second half
    with a jumper to pull UCSD within two. The four-year starter from San
    Jose
    scored 12 of UCSD’s 36 points in the second half,
    including six of the first eight.

    With 10 minutes and seven seconds left in the game, junior
    forward Henry Patterson’s free throw tied the game for the Tritons for the
    first time since the opening minutes of play. Just over three minutes later,
    junior guard Alan Husted hit two from the charity stripe to give UCSD its first
    lead of the game. Able to play stingy defense and take good care of the ball
    offensively to avoid turnovers, the Tritons would not trail through the rest of
    the game and avenged an earlier loss this season at Grand Canyon
    by the same margin.

    “In the second half we took away their post game more,” said
    Allard, who scored a team-high 21 points and dished out a game-high three
    assists. “We were doubling the post more aggressively, everybody was rotating,
    and I think the defense really stepped it up. For me, it’s really about
    whatever is going to help us win. If for one night that means passing it to
    Henry or Jordan or whoever has the hot hand that night, I’m more than happy to
    do it. I’ve been around here for four years, and I’d much rather win than
    anything else.”

    The Tritons finished the game with only six turnovers,
    compared to 12 assists and eight steals. The Antelopes committed 20 turnovers,
    compared to only six assists, as Rudy Bogan led the team with 23 points, six
    rebounds and matched UCSD on his own with six turnovers. The Tritons committed
    only two fouls in the second half and converted 65.2 percent of their field
    goal attempts. Patterson and Kim each scored nine points in the game, with Kim
    also stealing three passes.

    “This was one of those games where we wanted it more,
    especially in the second half,” Carlson said. “We’re going to get everyone’s
    best every night. It was the same tonight. We weren’t at our best tonight, but
    we found a way. Sometimes you’re not going to be at your best, but you’ve got
    to find a way to grind it.”

    The Tritons will now look to break their conference losing
    streak when they face Chico State on Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. and Cal State Stanislaus
    on Feb. 2 with a scheduled 7:30 p.m. tip-off.

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