CHICO, Calif. -
Jay Flores scored a game-high 17 points and Damario Sims finished with 16 to lead Chico State to a 66-56 victory over UC San Diego in a California Collegiate Athletic Association clash on Saturday evening at Acker Gymnasium.
Trailing 55-46 with 6:45 to play, UCSD scored six straight points to cut the deficit to three, but Chico State closed the game on an 11-4 run to claim the victory and send the Tritons to their third straight defeat. The Wildcats shot just under 48% from the field and sank 11-of-20 from the three-point line, 55%.
Christian Hatch and Justin Brue scored 12 points apiece for UCSD, which shot just 29% in the decisive second half.
Chico State improves to 11-3 on the season and 5-3 in the CCAA, recording its sixth victory in seven games. UCSD, which went 0-2 on its current road trip after suffering a 78-72 overtime loss at Cal State Stanislaus on Friday, falls to 5-8 overall and 1-7 in the CCAA.
Flores finished 3-of-4 from the field, including 3-for-3 from behind the arc, and went 8-for-10 at the free throw line to pace the Wildcat offense. Sims hit 5-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-7 from downtown, while Amir Carraway also finished double figures for the home team, scoring 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
Hatch was just 3-for-10 from the floor, but sank all six of his free throws and finished with six rebounds. Brue recorded his first career double-double, adding a game-high 10 boards to go with his 12 points. He finished 5-of-10 from the field.
Tyler McGrath and Dylan Bohanan scored eight points apiece, while James McCann tallied seven points and a game-high six assists.
The Tritons trailed 26-16 with seven minutes remaining in the opening half but scored 15 unanswered points to take a 31-26 lead. Bohanan hit back-to-back jumpers during the stretch, while Hatch capped the run with a pair of free throws and a jumper that gave UCSD its biggest lead of the game with 1:05 left in the period.
Chico scored the next four points to close within 31-30 at the half.
With the Tritons clinging to 37-35 lead three and a half minutes into the second stanza, the Wildcats went on a game-changing 8-0 run to reclaim the lead for good. Flores hit back-to-back threes to ignite things for the home squad and Carraway followed with an easy bucket inside to give CSUC a 43-37 edge with 12:30 remaining.
The Tritons trimmed the deficit down to two at 46-44 less than two minutes later, but the Wildcats scored nine of the next 11 points to push their advantage to nine at 55-46 with less than seven minutes remaining.
UCSD made one last push with Hatch and Brue combining to score six straight to bring the Tritons to within 55-52, but that was as close as they would get as Chico hit nine free throws in the final 3:43 to seal the win.
UCSD missed its final five shots from the field and finished 6-of-21 in the half. The Tritons shot 39% for game, 19 of their 49 attempts.
UCSD will now come home for four straight over the next two weeks, starting with matchups against Cal State East Bay and Cal State Monterey Bay on January 13-14.