UCSD Dominates Cal State East Bay, Falls to Cal State Monterey Bay


Photo by Megan Lee

Guardian Staff

Photo by Megan Lee
Photo by Megan Lee

Tritons stay tied for first in the conference

No. 14 UCSD headed into the weekend with its best-ever ranking in Division II, but the Tritons  were stopped by Cal State Monterey Bay on Saturday night, following their win at Cal State East Bay the previous night, UCSD now holds a 13-3 overall record and 8-2 in conference play, tied atop the California Collegiate Athletic Association.


UCSD vs. Cal State East Bay


On Friday evening, senior forward Drew Dyer spearheaded the attack for No. 14 UCSD men’s basketball team with a game-high 18-point outing, leading to a 64-43 victory against Cal State East Bay.


In earning their fourth consecutive victory, the Tritons had the outright lead of the CCAA conference for the night, holding a strong 13-2 overall record and 8-1 in the conference up to that point.


“I thought we did a nice job on the defensive end,” UCSD Head Coach Eric Olen told the UCSD Athletic Department. “It felt like we made [Cal State East Bay] work for everything and forced mostly contested shots. We were efficient on the offensive end but had too many empty possessions due to turnovers.”


Nearly perfect from the floor, Dyer drained six of his seven shots, including being two for two from beyond the arc. Additionally, junior guard Adam Klie and sophomore guard Grant Jackson had themselves an efficient game as well, both shooting four for six from the field earning them 12  and 11 points, respectively. Not to mention, Jackson distributed three assists and junior guard Aleks Lipovic produced a strong performance on the boards, gathering a game-high eight rebounds.


Collectively, the Tritons shot 53 percent (23-43) from the field, the 11th time in 15 games that UCSD has shot above the 50-percent mark as a team. In contrast, Cal State East Bay stuck to a disappointing 29 percent (16-55) from the field in the evening, and UCSD defended the three-point shot extremely well. As a result, the Pioneers made just a single shot from beyond the arc out of their 16 attempts; not surprisingly, however, as the Tritons hold the title for the best three-point defense in the nation.


UCSD conceded only 43 points in the contest, making it its second-fewest point total allowed this season.


The Tritons also held the advantage in the rebounding department, 39-26 and produced their season-high six blocks in the game, with Klie and freshman center Chris Hansen swatting two a piece.


UCSD vs. Cal State Monterey Bay


The Tritons attempted to keep the momentum going behind their fourth straight win on Friday evening, but it was not meant to be as No. 14 UCSD fell against its northern rivals, Cal State Monterey Bay on Saturday night, 71-60.


As a result of its lowest-point total of the season, UCSD now stands with a 13-3 overall record and 8-2 in conference play. More importantly, the Tritons now share the top spot in the CCAA standings alongside Chico State.


UCSD had a season-low shooting performance on that night, ending with 33 percent (21-64) from overall shooting and 21 percent (6-28) from behind the arc — the Tritons failed to reach their season average of 73.5 PPG.


“We got off to a slow start tonight and weren’t able to recover,” Olen told the UCSD Athletics Department.


On a brighter note, the Tritons had four players in double figures in the points category including Hansen (12), Dyer (11), Klie (11) and Lipovic (10). Dyer also had a team-high of nine rebounds.


The Otters also had a solid-shooting performance, ending with 44 percent (27-61) overall and from beyond the three-point line (8-18), dominating on the boards as well, with a 48-37 advantage.


The standout player of the night, Cal State Monterey Bay’s senior forward Ryan Nitz, had a tremendous 31-point game, including an impressive seven three-pointers. Alongside him was freshman forward Julian Ducree who gathered a game-high 11 rebounds.


The Tritons came out flat footed at the start and paid the price; they trailed 11-0, which was the start to an impressive night for Nitz, draining two shots from beyond the arc during that spurt. With almost 10 minutes gone in the the first period, UCSD found itself with a 20-point gap to climb, 22-2. It ended the first half in a much better way and cut down the lead to 11, going into halftime 37-26.


With only a few minutes remaining, and trailing as much as 17 points, the Tritons attempted to get themselves in a position to fight for the win. UCSD was only behind by six points with 43 seconds left in the game, but it was too late, as the Otters put the comeback out of question by hitting five free throws to finish the game.


“We’re looking forward to coming home, and I expect us to respond with a much better performance,” Olen told the UCSD Athletic Department.


UCSD will host a pair of conference games this week at RIMAC Arena. The first of those encounters coming against Cal State Dominguez Hills for Spirit Night on Jan. 22; the Tritons will take on Cal State L.A. on Jan. 23, as the second game of the back-to-back series. Both are set for 7:30 p.m. tip-offs.