Men’s Basketball Takes Down No.3 Tritons


Photo courtesy of Robert Huskey

Men’s Basketball wins against UCSD in a game of 76-61.

Anthony Quach, Staff Reporter

On Sat, Feb. 16, the Cal State LA men’s basketball team faced off against the UC San Diego Tritons in a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) matchup at the Tritons’ Recreation, Intramural and Athletic Complex (RIMAC) Arena in La Jolla, California.
After a disappointing loss to the San Marcos Cougars, the Golden Eagles picked up a huge road win against one of the top teams in the CCAA, handing the Tritons their first home loss this season, 76-61.

“Anytime we have a loss, we always come back and get win to keep us in the race,” said Golden Eagles head coach Jim Saia. “We played with great focus, energy and execution against UC San Diego.”

Trailing 20-13 with 8:22 remaining in the first half, the Golden Eagles turned things around, as they went on a 20-6 run to close out the first half, leading the Tritons 33-26.

The Golden Eagles dominated the second half at one point leading, 60-38.

It was all offense for the Golden Eagles in the second half, shooting 52.2 percent from the field and making 8-of-13 shots from beyond the arc. The Tritons shot 45.2 percent and made only 4-of-15 from 3-point-range in the second half.

Overall, the Golden Eagles’ offense was very efficient, shooting 44 percent from the field and made 15-of-27 from long distance. The Tritons shot 36.5 percent and made only 7-of-29 from 3-point-range.

“This game showed us that when we lock in and focus from start to finish and we focus on defense, we can beat anybody, home or away,” said Golden Eagles senior guard Kenneth Cyprian.

Golden Eagles junior forward Ja’Sean Lewis led his team in scoring with 14 points, also picking up eight rebounds.

His teammate, junior guard Fard Muhammad, scored 13 points and shot 3-of-5 from 3-point-range. Cyprian and junior guard Jordan Rogers both scored 10 points each for the Golden Eagles.

With the win, the Golden Eagles improve their overall record to 14-11, while maintaining eighth place in the CCAA with a record of 10-9, with three games remaining in the regular season.

For the Golden Eagles, a win like this sends a message to the other teams in the CCAA conference.

“They see our record, but they know what we’re capable of,” said Lewis. “We’re the only team to beat UCSD twice this year, so that definitely sends a message.”

With three CCAA games left, the Golden Eagles look to finish the season strong as they continue their pursuit for a higher seed in time for the playoffs. They are currently 1 ½ games behind the San Francisco State Gators, and they trail one-half game behind three teams: the Humboldt State Lumberjacks, the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros and the Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes.

The Golden Eagles will return home this week as they resume CCAA action on Thu, Feb. 21 to battle the Chico State Wildcats. Then on Sat, Feb. 23, the Golden Eagles will play their final home game of the regular season against the Humboldt State Lumberjacks, as they honor their seniors on Senior Day.

“We’re going to take it one game at a time,” said Lewis. “We want to keep the same focus like last game and come out with a win.”

Coach Saia is all about sticking to the fundamentals, “We want continue to grasp and enhance the fundamentals that we have been working on and doing well.”

The last time the Golden Eagles faced off against the Lumberjacks and the Wildcats was back on Jan. 10 & Jan. 12. The Golden Eagles lost to the Lumberjacks 84-76 and defeated the Wildcats 92-90.

Despite returning home, the Golden Eagles have a home record of 5-6.

“We’ve been losing at home and that definitely has to stop,” said Cyprian. “I’m sure Chico State’s mad about letting the last game slip away and it’s important that we take care of business at home.”