It was a rough couple of days for UCSD men’s basketball coach Greg Lanthier. On Wednesday, UCSD trekked out into the middle of the desert to face off with Grand Canyon University, and then hosted the lowly Antelopes two days later.
Both face-offs resulted in Triton losses. Despite overcoming an early 24-point deficit, the UCSD men’s basketball team could not seal the deal in the Wednesday game.
The match was an up-and-down affair for the Triton squad. It fell behind 13-0 to open the game, and was down 40-16 at the end of the first half before coming back in the second. Capitalizing on some key GCU miscues, the Tritons pulled within one. But that was as close as they got, as the game ended with the Antelopes winning 84-75.
GCU was led by Eddie Turner, who sparked a late 15-7 run to lock up the victory late in the game. He finished with 15 points to go with his 10 rebounds and three blocks. Toure Knighton also came up big for Grand Canyon in the win, notching a team-leading 21 points.
The Tritons were led once again by the stellar play of Cole Miller, who had 21 points, going five for eight from three point land. Ryan Swed also continues to impress, scoring 13 points and pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds. Kyle Moyneur made the most of his limited playing time, notching 10 points in 11 minutes. Cameron Jackson was also solid for the Tritons, scoring seven points and dishing out six assists in the loss.
When the squads met again in the gleaming hulk of metal and glass that is RIMAC Arena Saturday night, the end result was the same as when they met out in the wastelands of Arizona, with GCU once again taking home the victory by a score of 74-66 in front of a boisterous home crowd of 562, including the very audible and supportive men’s track and field team.
However, the beginning was quite the reverse of the previous game, as the Tritons came out strong against Grand Canyon as they strayed from their usual three-point attack and dominated the Antelopes inside en route to a 15-6 advantage.
However, Grand Canyon would eventually battle back. This time, though, it was Jovian Dobrzenski who stood out on the floor for the Antelopes. He had 24 points on eight of 12 shooting and and five for five perfection from the free-throw line. Kenny Mullins was also a key contributor, knocking down 15 points, while Chris Costello chipped in with 10 and Knighton pulled down nine boards for the victorious GCU squad.
UCSD was led on the court by the exploits of senior guard Nick Christensen, who sparked the team with 17 points. Miller was once again a factor, draining 14 points, while Sam Higgins had 13 of his own.
Those points were especially significant for Higgins, as it put him over the 1,000-point plateau for his career. His 1,010 points place him among only eight other players who have amassed 1,000 or more points while wearing Triton blue and gold.
While history was made, the Tritons would rather have picked up a victory or two, especially against GCU, whose record, with the two wins over the Tritons, improves to a meager 5-7 in league play and 5-11 overall.
No team is a walkover in the strong CCAA division though, as the Tritons and their 1-11 record will attest. They hope to pick things up a notch or two Friday night, when they will go head to head with a strong Chico State team at 8 p.m. at RIMAC Arena.