POMONA, Calif. - The University of California San Diego men's basketball team led Dixie State by seven points midway through the second half, but couldn't hold on and fell by a score of 69-63 Saturday at the CCAA/PacWest Challenge, hosted by Cal Poly Pomona at Kellogg Arena.
With 9:39 remaining in the game, junior transfer Christian Bayne drilled a three-pointer to put UC San Diego up 46-39, its largest lead of the contest. Dixie State responded in a big way, putting together an 11-point run that included a trio of three-pointers, two of those coming from Brandon Miller. The run culminated in a 50-46 lead for the Trailblazers with 6:23 on the clock. However, Bayne hit another trey to get the Tritons back within a point.
The lead changed hands several times and was tied for the eighth and final time at 59-59 when DSU's Trevor Hill made a layup with just over a minute left in the game. A pair of free throws by Brandon Simister gave the Trailblazers the lead for good.
UCSD led 27-24 at halftime.
"We played with a lot of energy and toughness tonight," said UCSD head coach Eric Olen. "We gave ourselves another great chance, but weren't able to finish it off. When you play really good teams, every possession is important. As we improve our execution going forward, hopefully we will be able to capitalize on the next opportunity."
For the second-straight night, junior Christian Oshita led UC San Diego offensively, scoring 12 points on 4-for-9 shooting. Bayne finished with 11 points and a team-best six rebounds, while senior Kenny Fraser had 10 points. Sophomore Ben Rico had eight points, all of those coming in the first half. Sophomore Scott Everman had a career-high four assists.
UCSD shot 40.4 percent (23-57) overall and 36 percent (9-25) from long range. Four Tritons had multiple three-pointers.
Dixie State also had three players with 10 or more points, including Simister (game-high 18), Hill (12), and Kyler Nielson (10). Quincy Matthews grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, four of those offensive.
The Trailblazers shot 46.8 percent (22-47) from the field and 41.7 percent (5-12) from behind the three-point line.
DSU went 20-for-30 from the free throw line, while UCSD was 8-for-13. Both squads turned the ball over 11 times.
The Tritons fell to 0-2 on the young season, while the Trailblazers won their first game to move to 1-1.
UCSD and Dixie State are receiving votes in the most recent NABC national poll.
The middle portion of a six-game road swing is on tap for UC San Diego next week as it plays at Point Loma on Tuesday, Nov. 14 (7:30 p.m.) and at 14th-ranked California Baptist on Saturday, Nov. 18 (7 p.m.).