LA JOLLA, Calif - UC San Diego opened the 2013-14 season with a 66-56 win over Daemen College Friday night at RIMAC Arena. James McCann scored 16 points and dished out seven assists while Hunter Walker poured in a career-high 16 points to power the Tritons to head coach Eric Olen’s first career victory.
The Tritons improve to 1-0 on the year while Daemen College falls to 2-1 overall.
McCann shot 4-12 from the floor, nailing two threes and six of eight free throws on the night, while Walker was 5-12 from the field with a pair of treys and four rebounds. UCSD also received 11 points from MacKenzie McCullough and a team-high 10 rebounds from Drew Dyer in the victory.
The Tritons built a 32-23 halftime lead with a strong defensive effort and seven points apiece from McCann and McCullough. UCSD held Daemen to 30 percent shooting from the floor and produced four steals in the half. The Wildcats’ were without center Gerald Beverly after receiving two early fouls and was limited to only six minutes.
Daemen came out in the second half on a 7-0 run to jump back into the game 32-30. The Wildcats cut the deficit to one, 53-52, with a trey from Casey Sheehan with 8:02 remaining but would not come any closer as the Tritons led from start to finish.
UCSD received a three-point play from Aleks Lipovic on the next possession after being fouled on a layup at the rim and followed by converting the free-throw. After the teams exchanged buckets, McCann nailed a dagger from behind the arc to put UCSD up 60-54 and help the Tritons close the game on a 13-4 run to finish off the victory, 66-56.
UCSD held the Wildcats to 34 percent shooting from the field and 23 percent from three on the night, creating 14 turnovers in the process. The Tritons out-rebounded the Wildcats 39-37 in the win.
Daemen was led by 13 points and eight rebounds from Gerald Beverly and 12 points from Jordan Greene, respectively.
The Tritons kick off their CCAA campaign at league favorite Cal State San Bernardino on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m.