LA JOLLA, Calif. - A magical season came to an end Monday for the University of California San Diego men's basketball team as it dropped a 95-86 decision to Chico State in the NCAA Division II West Regional championship game at RIMAC Arena.
UC San Diego, the tournament's top seed and the 19th-ranked squad in the country, closed its 2016-17 campaign at 27-6. The loss snapped a 12-game win streak, the longest in the program's Division II era.
Chico State, the sixth seed, improved to 26-7 and advances to the Elite Eight, March 22-25 in Sioux City, S.D.
The Wildcats led for a majority of the game (30:39), which featured six tie scores and 10 lead changes.
With 1:59 left in the contest and Chico State up by a single point (78-77), Corey Silverstrom hit a huge, and deep, three-pointer that ignited an 11-0 run for the Wildcats. When the spree was over, Chico State led by 12, 89-77, with 55 ticks on the clock.
Silverstrom had 18 points in the final 9:56.
The Tritons led by as many as six in the game, the latest at the 11:23 mark of the second half when Christian Oshita hit a trey to make it 57-51.
Tied 71-71 with 4:44 remaining, Chico State's Robert Duncan made a layup and a free throw to give the lead back to the Wildcats and they would stay ahead for the rest of the night.
Adam Klie led UCSD with 28 points, one short of his career high, which he set in February of this year. The senior guard was 11-for-24 from the field with six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Oshita, a sophomore swingman, finished with a career-best 23 points. He drained five three-pointers and led the Tritons on the boards with nine rebounds.
Senior guard Aleks Lipovic, playing in his final game as a Triton, totaled 14 points and hit four treys. Freshman forward Scott Everman had 11 points and made three three-pointers, while junior guard George Buaku doled out five assists.
UC San Diego shot 46.8 percent (29-62) overall and made 14 of its 26 three-point attempts, 53.8 percent. The Tritons turned the ball over just six times.
Isaiah Ellis was a force for Chico State, tallying a career-high 34 points and matching a career-best with 14 rebounds. He was 10-for-16 from the field and made 11 of 13 free throws while adding four assists. His 34 points were the most scored by a Wildcat since 2008.
Three other players hit double figures in points for Chico State including Silverstrom (21), Jalen McFerren (13) and Justin Briggs (10).
The Wildcats shot 50.9 percent (28-55) overall and hit at a 60.9 percent (14-23) clip in the second half. They out-rebounded the Tritons 39-29.
The game marked the fourth time the two teams had met this season with the series finishing at an even 2-2. In fact, the squads have split the season series for the last five years.
It was the second straight season that the Tritons advanced to the West Region title game.
Ellis, Klie, Lipovic, Silverstrom and Michael Smith of California Baptist were named to the all-tournament team, with Ellis picking up most outstanding player accolades.
UC San Diego recorded several program bests over the season, including most wins (27) and most California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) victories (17). In addition, the Tritons won their first ever CCAA regular season title as well as their second league tournament crown.
Klie was honored as the team's inaugural CCAA Player of the Year and Academic All-America of the Year. He became UCSD's Division II career leader in points, rebounds, field goals made, field goals attempted and minutes played. He also became just the second Triton to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career since the team moved to Division II status (2000-01).
Most Outstanding Player
Isaiah Ellis, Chico State