Photo by: Jimmy Gekas/Sideline Studios
Ryan Wheeler and the Tritons had their two-game winning streak snapped on Friday night.
Tritons Come Up Short Against Wildcats On the Road, 68-55
Release: Friday 01/07/2011 

CHICO, Calif. - Roderick Hawkins scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Jay Flores put in 15 points as Chico State defeated UC San Diego, 68-55, in California Collegiate Athletic Association play on Friday night at Acker Gymnasium.

The Wildcats closed the game on a decisive 18-7 run to post their fourth consecutive victory over the Tritons and snap UCSD's two-game winning streak in the process.

Christian Hatch finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds to record his second straight double-double for the Tritons, but his effort went for not as the Wildcats shot 45% in the second half and outscored UCSD 36-24 in the period.

Chico State improves to 8-3 overall on the season and ups its conference record to 4-3. UCSD, which had won three of four coming in, falls to 8-5 overall and 3-4 in the CCAA.

Hawkins led three players in double figures for the Wildcats, scoring 11 of his 18 points after halftime. He was 7-of-12 from the field and 4-of-6 at the free throw line. Flores was just 3-of-6 from the floor, but hit eight of his nine free throws and also finished with three boards and two assists. Sean Park finished with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting and racked up nine rebounds.

Hatch was 6-of-14 from the field, reaching double figures for the fifth consecutive game. He finished with a career-best 24 points and hauled down 12 boards in Monday's win at Cal State East Bay.

Casey Ryan finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and two assists, while Justin Brue had six points, six boards, two assists, three blocks and two steals.

Chico State shot 43% for the game, while limiting UCSD to 39% from the floor. After shooting 45% in the win over Sonoma State on December 30, the Tritons have now finished below 40% in each of their last two games.

"We didn't shoot the ball particularly well tonight and we just didn't make enough plays late in the second half to pull out the win," head coach Chris Carlson said. "I thought we did a good job of battling back when we fell behind in the first half, but we had a few turnovers and missed a few shots late in the game and it cost us."

UCSD grabbed a 37-34 advantage on a layup by Ryan early in the second half, but the Tritons were unable to expand on the lead. Chico State came back to take a 50-45 lead following a big slam by Jason Conrad and a Damario Sims three.

Hatch hit two free throws to bring UCSD to within 50-48 with 8:34 left, but Chico would score nine of the next 10 points to push its advantage to 59-49 with 4:38 remaining. Hawkins accounted for five points during the stretch as the Wildcats assumed control for good.

Tyler McGratch hit a jumper to cut the margin to eight a minute and a half later, but that was as close as UCSD could get as Flores and Sims combined to sink nine free throws in the final 1:43 to seal the victory.

The Tritons trailed by as many as nine in the first half, but rallied to take a 26-25 lead on a Brue layup with 4:32 to play in the period. Chico scored six straight to lead 31-26, but UCSD rallied once more, closing to within one at the break, 32-31.

UCSD will now travel to Cal State Stanislaus to conclude its three-game road trip. The Tritons will take on the Warriors at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Ed and Bertha Fitzpatrick Arena 


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