The No. 4 Division II UC San Diego men’s basketball team has captured its third regular season title outright, thanks to a 62-55 victory over Cal State East Bay.
Thursday’s win was the Tritons’ 17th straight.
“It’s a really big accomplishment and our guys deserve a lot of credit for how consistent they’ve been in a really good league – including East Bay,” UC San Diego head coach Eric Olen said when asked about UCSD’s California Collegiate Athletic Association opponents.
UC San Diego improved to 25-1 overall and 19-1 in CCAA play.
The teams played a seesaw first half. Triton guard Tyrell Roberts knocked down two quick shots and he found guard Mikey Howell, who buried a three. Cal State East Bay (14-11 overall, 10-9 CCAA) punched back though with a 12-2 run as the Pioneers went in front, 14-9.
The Tritons countered with a 9-2 run to go back in front, but the Pioneers once again responded, closing the first half on an 11-0 run. East Bay took a 31-24 lead into halftime.
When the second half began, UC San Diego began to find its rhythm. Forward Christian Oshita and Marek Sullivan each connected on three-pointers to draw the Tritons to within three. With 15:06 remaining, center Chris Hansen buried his second three of the night to tie the score.
The Hansen trey was part of a 12-2 UCSD run that put the Tritons on top, 39-37, as they surged to a double-digit lead.
Oshita led all scorers with 25 points – including 22 after halftime – and he finished with nine rebounds. Sullivan posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
The Tritons struggled shooting all night, connecting on 40% of their attempts, well below their season average of 50%.
“Our defense kept us in the game. In the second half, that was as good as we’ve played on that end of the floor [this season],” Olen said.
UC San Diego continues its three-game road trip at 3 p.m. Saturday, when the Tritons visit Cal State Monterey Bay.
– Staff reports