Photo by: Derrick Tuskan

Big West Champ UC Irvine Downs Tritons in Exhibition

UC San Diego

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IRVINE, Calif. – UC San Diego redshirt senior center Chris Hansen scored a game-high 21 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Tritons fell 80-64 at UC Irvine in their exhibition finale Friday at Bren Events Center.

“Irvine’s a really good team and they played well and pounded it inside like we thought they would,” said UC San Diego head coach Eric Olen. “For us, there were definitely more positives to take from this one than [Wednesday night at San Diego State]. We competed well and did a good job taking care of the ball.”

UC San Diego got off to a strong start against the defending Big West champions, forcing four Anteaters turnovers in the game’s first eight minutes. However, out of the media timeout, UCI went on a quick 6-0 run to build a 20-11 lead with 10:31 to play in the first half. The Tritons refused to be rattled, and answered with a 7-2 spurt of their own over the next four minutes, trimming the deficit to four at 22-18. The two teams traded buckets down the stretch, and the half culminated when redshirt sophomore guard Tyrell Roberts calmly buried a three-pointer with less than a second to play, and the Anteaters’ halftime advantage was 32-27.

Roberts scored seven first half points for UC San Diego. The Tritons were led by eight points from Hansen. Redshirt senior guard Christian Oshita added six points and seven rebounds in the first half. Both teams pulled down 21 boards.

UC Irvine came out firing in the second half, knocking down three consecutive long balls as part of a 13-2 run, as the Anteaters built a 45-29 advantage with 16:41 remaining. The Tritons were unable to get within single digits from that point.

For the game, Hansen’s 21 led all scorers on 9-of-18 shooting. Roberts finished with 15 – including 8-for-8 from the free throw line – over 24 minutes. Oshita contributed a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with eight points.

The Tritons committed just eight turnovers while forcing 12.

Three UC Irvine players finished in double figures, led by 15 from senior guard Evan Leonard. The Anteaters connected on 11-of-22 three-point attempts, and UCI posted a 44-35 advantage on the glass.

UC San Diego opens its 2019-20 season on Friday, November 8 in the GNAC/CCAA Challenge. The fifth-ranked Tritons will take on Simon Fraser at 5 p.m. on the campus of Western Washington in Bellingham, Wash.

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country.  The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference.  UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent.  A total of 82 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 37 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships.  In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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