Junior forward Eric Wise scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds to pace the Anteaters, who delivered a victory for first-year head coach Russell Turner in his debut. Darren Moore added 16 points and five steals, while Patrick Rembert finished with 10 points and four assists.
Junior center Christian Hatch scored 16 points and grabbed eight boards to lead the Tritons, while sophomore forward Justin Brue hit all six of his shots from the field and finished with 13 points, six rebounds and two assists. Senior guard Casey Ryan tallied six points, eight rebounds and three assists.
UCSD will now host UC Santa Cruz in its final exhibition matchup of the year on Saturday, before tipping off the regular season at the Disney West Coast Tip Off Classic November 12-14 in Anaheim.
UCSD shot just under 43% for the game and held a 44-31 rebounding advantage, but UCI forced the Tritons into 32 turnovers leading to 28 points. The Anteaters shot 42.4% from the field.
With the game tied at eight after six minutes of play, UC Irvine outscored UCSD 17-4 over the next nine and a half minutes to take a 25-12 advantage with less than five minutes remaining in the half. The Anteaters would extend the advantage to 15, before taking a 29-16 lead at the break.
Both teams struggled from the field in the first half, but UCI was plus-eight at the free-throw line.
Brue hit a jumper to bring UCSD to within 35-25 with 15:08 left in the second period, but UCI answered with a 14-6 run to extend its advantage to 18 at 49-31. The Tritons cut the deficit to 51-39 on Hatch's layup with 7:33 to play, but the Anteaters outscored UCSD 14-4 over the next 3:27 to put the game away.
Wise was 12-of-17 from the field, including 2-of-3 from the three-point line, and also finished with two assists and a pair of steals.
Hatch hit 8-of-15 shots for the Tritons, who shot 50% (13-26) in the second half.
UCI, which led by as many as 27, outscored UCSD 40-28 in the paint and held an 8-0 margin in fast break points.
Tipoff for Saturday's matchup with UC Santa Cruz is slated for 7:00 p.m. at UCSD's RIMAC Arena.