The saying in conference tournaments is often “survive and advance.” That is exactly what the UC San Diego Tritons did on Tuesday (Feb. 28, 2017) at RIMAC Arena on campus in La Jolla, with a 78-72 victory over Humboldt State in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) quarterfinals.
The top seeded Tritons (23-5) saw eighth-seeded Humboldt State (13-16) get the first basket of the game, but came right back down the court and hit the first of ten first half three-pointers. That would be the only lead change in the contest, however that doesn’t mean that it was a cake walk for the Tritons.
In the first four minutes of the game, the Tritons out-scored the Lumberjacks 14-5, which laid the ground work for the top seed being up by 14 points at the break.
During one portion of the first half from 14:08 until 6:45, the Blue and Gold hit six shots out of 10 attempts to take a nine-point lead at 32-23. Four different shooters helped with the run.
By the time the dust settled at halftime, UCSD had shot 10-of-17 from behind the arc. Humboldt State was a measly 2-of-10 from the land of plenty.
Then the second half came.
Just a little more than two minutes into the second half a hush fell over the crowd of 340. That is because starting point guard George Buaku went down with a left ankle injury. At the time of the injury, the Tritons were up 14 points. Buaku would finish the game with just two points and five assists.
Adam Klie lead all scorers with 29 points for the Tritons. Christian Oshita had a double-double of 19 points and 15 rebounds. Of the 19 points, 15 came from deep. Aleks Lipovic also reached double figures for UCSD with 13 points.
Nikhil Lizotte led the Lumberjacks with 24 points, his teammate Tyras Rattler Jr also had 20 points. No other Lumberjack reached double figures.
The Northern California Lumberjacks were able to get the lead down to just a one possession difference on two separate occasions. But each time that the ‘Jacks got it to within one possession, the Tritons would bounce it back to nearly double digits.
With the win, the Tritons will move onto the CCAA semi-finals on Friday at CSU San Marcos’ new Sports Center. With all of the top seeds moving on from the quarterfinals, the Tritons will take on the four seed Chico State (22-6) at 5:35 in the early evening. The nightcap will be the 2 vs 3 match up of Sonoma State (3rd seed, 19-7) vs the Nationally ranked San Francisco State (23-4) at 8:05. The finals will be on Saturday at 7:35 at the Sports Center on San Marcos’ campus. Tickets are $10 or $15. Parking passes are required on CSU San Marcos’ campus and cost $9 for the all day pass.
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