ANAHEIM, Calif. - Christian Hatch
scored a game-high 18 points and Matt Bailey
finished with 10, but it wasn't enough as the UC San Diego men's basketball team suffered a 78-68 defeat at the hands of Western Washington on the second day of the Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic on Saturday afternoon at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Rico Wilkins scored 17 points to lead five players in double figures for WWU, which won its second consecutive game in Anaheim. The Vikings shot 47.5% (28-59) from the field and drained 10-of-22 from the three-point line, 45.5% to hand the Tritons their first loss of the young season.
UCSD, which defeated Chestnut Hill College 102-74 to open the tournament on Friday, shot just 43% (26-60) from the floor and finished with 18 turnovers. The Tritons held a 42-31 rebounding advantage and outscored the Vikings 30-18 in the paint, but couldn't find an answer for the WWU offense, particularly from the outside.
"Western Washington's a very good team and they played well today," head coach Chris Carlson said. "We weren't great defensively and we didn't do a very good job of responding when they came out and took it to us early on. We were playing catch up the whole game and we were never really able to climb back into it."
In addition to Wilkins' efforts, the Vikings got 13 points from Rory Blanche, 11 from both Zach Henifin and Shedrick Nelson and 10 from Richard Woodworth.
Hatch finished 8-of-18 from the floor and also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds, while Bailey was 3-for-5 to go with two boards and two assists. Justin Brue finished with eight points, eight rebounds and two assists.
Western Washington jumped out to an early lead after hitting seven of its first 10 shots to open the game. Henifin hit a three-pointer and Blanche converted a runner in the lane to give the Vikings a 16-10 advantage with 13:51 left in the first half. WWU then pushed the lead to 10 at 27-17 on a triple by Nelson with five and half minutes left in the period.
The Tritons were able to close to within 29-23 following a pair of threes by Bailey and Ryan Peters, but the Vikings closed the half on a 10-3 spurt, with Chris Mitchell hitting a three at the buzzer to make it 39-26 in favor of WWU at the break.
Western Washington converted 16-of-32 shots from the field in the first half and hit 5-of-11 from downtown, 45.5%. UCSD shot just 34.4%, hitting 11-of-32 from the floor.
The Tritons scored the first seven points of the second half to close within 39-33, but the Vikings answered with six straight to end the threat. Back-to-back jumpers by Mike Meza and MacKenzie McCullough brought UCSD to within nine at 49-40 with 11 minutes remaining, but WWU hit threes on its next two possessions to push the lead back to 14 at 55-41 with 10:32 left.
Wilkins' fourth three of the game gave the Vikings their biggest lead at 68-50 with 7:22 remaining and the Tritons would not get closer than 10 the rest of the way.
Wilkins accounted for half of Western Washington's 10 threes in the game, finishing 5-of-11 from behind the arc. Five different Vikings had the other five.
The Tritons will wrap up the Disney Classic against Dominican University on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. The Penguins (0-2) dropped a 66-62 decision to Chestnut Hill in the first game of the day on Saturday.