Tritons Sputter Through Two-Game Split to Conference Foes

    Erik Jepsen/Guardian

    MEN’S BASKETBALL — UCSD was eager to get back on track this weekend after losing five games in a row.

    They did just that on Saturday, Feb. 6, beating Cal State Los Angeles 83-77 at RIMAC Arena.

    Senior guard Jordan Lawley, the conference’s leading scorer, shouldered the scoring load as usual for the Tritons, posting a game-high 29 points. Lawley shot nine-for-18 from the field, and scored 19 of his points in the second half.

    Sophomore center Christian Hatch also stepped up for the struggling Tritons, delivering a career-high 23 points. He broke his personal best of 16 while tallying 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.

    UCSD got off to a hot start, sinking 10 of its first 15 shots. Hatch and Lawley combined to score 15 points in the game’s first 10 minutes, helping the Tritons build a 25-14 lead.

    The Golden Eagles closed to within four at 30-26 on a layup with 5:12 left in the period, but UCSD closed the half on an 11-4 run to take a 41-30 lead into the locker room.

    After the break, UCSD saw its lead pushed back up to 12 following a pair of Acevedo three-pointers, but the Golden Eagles came roaring back, closing to within five at 79-74 with 1:38 left to play.

    After both teams failed to score, Los Angeles senior guard Dwayne Jones got a steal in the UCSD backcourt, resulting in a trip to the line for junior forward Mark Dorsey, where he could have cut the deficit to two with 36 seconds remaining.

    Fortunately for the Tritons, Dorsey missed them both, and Lawley held his nerve to sink two free throws — taking the score to 81-75. The Tritons held on for a six-point win.

    Senior guard Tyler Acevedo connected on three shots from beyond the arc for the Tritons to finish with 13 points, and teammate Casey Ryan put together his third double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 boards.

    The Golden Eagles shot at 46 percent as a team from the field, and were led in scoring by senior guard Chris Fields, who finished with 22 points. He hit seven of 15 shots from the field and added five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Dwayne Jones finished with 19 points, while Chris Robinson added 16 and Leland Jones chipped in with 15.

    Both teams hit six triples in the game, and each finished with 17 points off turnovers.

    With the win, UCSD is now 5-13 overall and 4-11 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play. The loss dropped CSULA to 12-9 overall, and 8-8 in league action.

    The Triton win came on the heels of a closely contested 58-68 home defeat against Cal State Dominguez Hills on Thursday, Feb. 4.

    The Tritons lost the game despite solid efforts from Lawley and Ryan, who combined for 43 of the Triton’s 58 points.

    Lawley posted a game-high 24 points on seven-of-ten shooting, with three triples and seven rebounds. Ryan was nearly perfect from the floor, connecting on nine of his 10 field goal attempts to finish with a career-high 19 points, and also pulled down eight rebounds.

    Ultimately, Dominguez Hills won the physical battle on the glass, outrebounding the Tritons 39-30. They were able to translate this advantage into 13 second-chance points.

    UCSD played a key role in its own demise with woeful shooting from the free-throw line. The team went 13-for-25 from the charity stripe.

    The Tritons are back in action next week, traveling to Cal State Stanislaus on Feb. 12 and Chico State on Feb. 13.

    Readers can contact Cameron Tillisch at [email protected].

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