Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tritons Take Down Pioneers To Pick Up First League Win

LA JOLLA, Calif. - Christian Hatch scored a team-high 16 points and Casey Ryan finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds, leading the UC San Diego men's basketball team to a 69-55 win over visiting Cal State East Bay on Tuesday evening at RIMAC Arena.

The Tritons shot 49% for the game and outscored the Pioneers 15-4 over the first eight minutes of the second half to earn their first victory in California Collegiate Athletic Association play. UCSD improves to 6-3 overall on the season and ups its conference mark to 1-2 following losses at Cal State Monterey Bay and San Francisco State two weeks ago.

Mark Samuels scored a game-high 21 points and Roshun Wynne added 15 for the Pioneers, who fall to 2-5 overall and 0-3 in the CCAA.

After a tightly contested first half, UCSD immediately assumed control in the second as Hatch and Ryan combined to score eight of the Tritons' first 12 points. Ryan's three-point play made it 41-34 with 15:27 remaining and a midrange jumper from Tyler McGrath pushed the advantage to 11 at 45-34 a little more than a minute later.

UCSD led 53-37 following a baseline jumper from Ryan Wheeler and, after CSUEB cut the deficit to just 11 at 59-48 with 4:13 left, Hatch scored on consecutive possessions to give the Tritons a 63-48 edge and put the game away. Colin Porter's three-point play with 1:27 on the clock gave UCSD its biggest advantage of the evening at 67-50.

"It was definitely good to come home and get a win," head coach Chris Carlson said. "We had our struggles at times in the first half, but we had a good effort coming out of the locker room in the second half and built a lead and we were able to maintain it. Christian and Casey were great tonight and that's what you expect from your leaders at home."

The Tritons were very efficient from the field, converting 25-of-51 attempts for the game, including 12-of-24 in the second half. Hatch was a near-flawless 7-for-8 from the floor, while Ryan converted 5-of-11. Hatch bounced back after scoring just two points in the 78-60 loss to the Gators on December 3 and Ryan turned in his fourth straight double-double.

McGrath scored 11 points off the bench for UCSD, returning to the lineup after missing five games with a shoulder injury. He was 4-of-10 overall and 3-of-9 from the three-point line.

The Tritons were dominant on the glass, outrebounding the Pioneers 40-23, and held a 19-7 edge in fast break points.

UCSD led by as many as seven points in the first half, taking a 29-22 advantage on McGrath's three with 3:22 left in the period, but Wynne hit a jumper for East Bay and Rodrigue Maza followed with a triple to bring the visitors to within two. After Wynne's three cut the deficit to just one at 31-30, James McCann answered with a three of his own with six seconds left, giving the Tritons a 34-30 cushion at the break.

UCSD will now welcome Humboldt State to town on Sunday afternoon, with tipoff scheduled for approximately 2:30 p.m. The Tritons dropped both meetings with the Lumberjacks in 2009-10.

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