Tritons Come Up Short in Road Swing

MEN’S BASKETBALL — The UCSD men’s basketball team had a tough time on the tail end of its three-game road trip, losing 68-55 to Chico State on Friday before falling just short in a 57-55 loss to Cal State Stanislaus on Saturday.

“I think both nights we had really good efforts and did really good things,” head coach Chris Carlson said. “There were just certain portions of the game where we just couldn’t execute, whether it was not executing what we want to do offensively, or we couldn’t get the one stop we needed at a certain time.”

On Friday, Chico’s Roderick Hawkins scored 18 points and pulled down seven rebounds to lead the Wildcats to their fourth straight victory over the Tritons. UCSD’s junior center Christian Hatch recorded his second straight double-double with 19 points and 10 boards, but the Wildcats caught fire in the last 12 minutes of the game to pull away from the Tritons.

UCSD tied the score at 43 with 12:53 thanks to a bucket by Hatch, but Chico outscored the Tritons 25-12 for the remainder of the game to seal the win. The Wildcats shot 42 percent from the field on the game — including 45 percent in the second half — and forced 12 Triton turnovers.

Hatch scored in double figures for the Tritons’ fifth straight game, and went 6-14 from the field. Senior guard Casey Ryan was the only other Triton in double figures, posting 13 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore starters Ryan Peters and Justin Brue both had a rough night, combining just seven points off of 4-16 shooting.

UCSD had a better time against Cal State Stanislaus, but were still unable to pull out the win. Hatch had a sixth straight double-double with a game-high 17 points and 12 rebounds, but he could not overcome a poor shooting night for the Tritons, and the Warriors held on for the win.

“We just need to keep focusing on improving,” Carlson said. “I’m still very encouraged by our performance and we just have to keep getting better.”

The Tritons shot a season-low 32 percent for the game and had 11 turnovers.

“It’s one thing to be in a situation where you’re not getting good shots and trying to take bad ones,” Carlson said. “But I don’t think we’ve done that. I think our shot selection has been very good. We just haven’t made shots. At some point we’re going to make them. We’re much better than our field goal percentage has shown.”

Stanislaus led by six points with 2:52 remaining, but the Tritons cut the lead to one with 48 seconds left in the game after a basket from Ryan. After struggling with free throws throughout the game — the Warriors were 12-17 from the stripe at that point — Stanislaus made four of six from the line in the final minute to hang on for the win.

The Tritons fell to 8-6 overall with the losses, and 3-5 in conference play. The squad will look to turn its fortunes around with four home games over the next two weeks, beginning with a game against Cal State Los Angeles on Thursday. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. at RIMAC Arena.

Readers can contact Liam Rose at [email protected].