Junior center Christian Hatch had a game-high 24 points, sophomore forward Justin Brue put in a career-high 20 points and the Tritons beat San Francisco State 87-82 in double overtime on Thursday. The Tritons scored the game’s final 10 points to hang on for the win and halt a five-game losing streak.
The Tritons weren’t so fortunate on Spirit Night, as a crowd of over 3,800 could not prevent the squad from blowing a double-digit lead in the second half. Cal State Monterey Bay’s Berry scored 23 of his game-high 34 points in the second half and the Otters hung on for the 70-60 victory.
“I thought we did a great job on him in the first half, frustrating him a little bit,” head coach Chris Carlson said. “But he’s not going to stop playing. We did a lot of good things tonight; we just ran into a buzz saw in Davion Berry.”
On Thursday against San Francisco State, Hatch was only able to sink one of two free throws with 18 seconds remaining, tying the score at 67. Neither team could score in the remaining time, and the game went into overtime.
Hatch fouled out mid-way through the first overtime period, and the Tritons were left without a center for the rest of the game. UCSD was already without reserve center Ryan Wheeler, who was out with a bum ankle.
The Tritons stayed in the game and led 77-74 with 29 seconds left in overtime. But senior guard Casey Ryan missed four free throws that could have sealed the game, and San Francisco’s Jamari Simmons hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to a second overtime.
The Gators scored five quick points to take an 82-77 lead with 3:40 left on the clock. But San Francisco State missed the rest of their shots — including four free throws — as the Tritons went on a 10-0 run to end the game.
“I was so pleased with not only our effort but the way we stayed together,” Carlson said. “Christian [Hatch] is a guy we look to for some scoring punch and when he went out, we had to step it up. Just a great victory all the way around.”
Despite the missed free throws, Ryan had a solid night with 10 points and 20 rebounds. Tyler McGrath had 14 points off the bench for the Tritons, and went 3-5 from behind the arc.
On Spirit Night against Cal State Monterey Bay, the Tritons led by as many as 12 points, but saw their lead disintegrate as Berry single-handedly willed the Otters to victory.
UCSD led 43-33 with 13 minutes remaining, but the Otters went on a 12-2 run to take a 48-45 lead. The Tritons tied the game after a three-point play from Hatch, but Berry scored eight straight points for the Otters and Cal State Monterey Bay didn’t trail by less than four for the rest of the game.
Hatch once again led the way for the Tritons, tallying 20 points and 14 boards. Ryan had 19 points and nine rebounds. Brue and freshman point guard James McCann struggled from the field, each going 3-10 on the night.
With six games remaining in the regular season, the Tritons sit in 11th place, but only one back of eight place and the final spot in the CCAA tournament.
The Tritons will play their final two home games this week, as they host Cal State Stanislaus and Chico State on Thursday and Saturday, respectively, at RIMAC Arena.