UCSD vs. CSU Stanislaus, Feb. 15 Trying to avoid back-to-back losses, UCSD took on Cal State Stanislaus Friday, Feb. 15 in Turlock at the Fitzpatrick Arena.
“They made over [50 percent] of their threes,” senior Tyler McGrath said. “It’s hard to win against anybody when teams are that hot.”
The Tritons were unable to recover from a barrage of second-half three-pointers and fell for the second straight time to the Warriors, 57–72.
UCSD shot a combined 24-for-53 from the field for a solid 45.3 percent but allowed Cal State Stanislaus to shoot 53.1 percent on 26-for-49, including a blistering 52.2 percent from the three-point line. UCSD outscored the Warriors 36 to 16 in the paint but made nine fewer three-pointers.
Senior forward Justin Brue had a game-high 18 points, going 9-for-11 from the field to go along with a steal. Junior point guard James McCann played an all-around good game, contributing 12 points and also posting six assists and five rebounds. Taylor Bell led the way for the Warriors with 16 points, and Nick Hodge added 13 points with eight rebounds and two blocks.
The first half of play was close throughout, featuring five lead changes. The Tritons shot 10-for-24, while The Warriors shot 11-for-27. UCSD jumped out to an early 6-point lead in the first eight minutes of play, leading 11–5 with 13 minutes to play in the half. But Stanislaus went on a tear from there, posting a 16–2 run to break ahead 21–13 with eight minutes and 25 seconds remaining. The Tritons fought to stay in the game, and the half ended 29–24 with the Warriors on top.
In the second half, both teams came out trading baskets until the Tritons used an 11–3 run to regain the lead 40–39 with 12 minutes left to play. With five minutes left in regulation, the score was still close with Stanislaus leading by three, 54–51. But within the next three minutes, the Warriors used a 10–0 run to balloon the lead to 13 with two minutes to play, and the Tritons were unable to reduce the lead any further. The Tritons fell, outscored 43–33 in the second half.
With the loss, the Tritons drop to 9–11 on the season and 8–9 in CCAA conference play. UCSD remained in seventh place in the conference standings.
UCSD vs. Chico State, Feb. 16
The Tritons did not have much time to dwell on their loss to Cal State Stanislaus, however, as they played the next night against Chico State.
The Tritons’ game at Chico in Acker Gymnasium was their last road game of the season. UCSD fell to Chico State 64–61 in a heartbreaking fashion, as the potential game-tying three-pointer by McCann was disallowed when the officials ruled that the shot failed to leave his hands before the buzzer.
The Tritons were led by freshman forward Drew Dyer, who recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes of game play. McCann led the Tritons with six assists and also scored 16 points. Chico State featured a balanced offense, with four players each scoring over 10 points.
In the opening half, both teams struggled from the field. UCSD shot 31.4 percent on 11-for-35 and went 1-for-8 behind the arc, while Chico State went 9-for-25. The score was close throughout the first half, with the largest lead held by the Tritons at 5.
At the start of the second half, back-to-back three-pointers by Chico’s Damario Sims gave the Wildcats an 8-point lead early on. A Triton 7–1 run highlighted by a pair of three-pointers and a jumper got the Tritons right back into the game, and the score stayed close for the remainder of the half.
In the final five minutes of play, both teams exchanged leads, and the game was tied on four separate occasions. The Wildcats’ Park buried a three-pointer with 42 seconds left on the clock to give Chico a slight 61–58 advantage. After a 20-second timeout, McCann hit a three-pointer to tie the game with 26 seconds left.
The Wildcats were left with presumably the last shot of the game, and with three seconds left in regulation, Sims sunk the eventual game-winning three-pointer to give Chico the 64–61 lead. Without much time left, McCann tossed up a shot from three-quarters down the court, which fell. Unfortunately, the officials reviewed the shot and concluded that the ball did not leave his hands in time. With two road losses, the Tritons return home in hopes of changing their fortune against Cal State East Bay on Friday, Feb. 22. The game begins at 7:30 p.m., and will be broadcast on ESPN 1700. The Tritons have four games remaining in their regular season schedule. All four will be played at home.
“Our focus hasn’t changed. We are really excited about these four home games and to close out the season. We feel we can win all four, we are really confident, and going into the playoffs with some momentum would be nice,” McGrath said.