ANAHEIM, Calif. - Christian Hatch
and Justin Brue
scored 16 points apiece to lead the UC San Diego men's basketball team to a hard-fought 78-73 victory over Dominican University in the final game of the Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic on Sunday evening at the Anaheim Convention Center.
UCSD shot 55.6% (20-36) from the field and converted 34-of-42 at the free throw line to claim the Disney Classic title for the second year in a row. One of three teams to finish with a 2-1 record in Anaheim, the Tritons were crowned champions based on a better point differential than Western Washington and Chestnut Hill College.
UCSD also captured the Disney Classic trophy after going 2-1 in 2010.
Hatch was just 3-of-5 from the field but converted 10-of-11 at the foul line to pace the Triton offense for the third straight game. He also hauled down a game-high eight rebounds in 28 minutes. The Henderson, Nev. native was named the Disney Classic All-Tournament Team MVP after averaging 20.0 points and 7.3 rebounds, while shooting 57% from the field in UCSD's three games.
Brue finished 6-of-10 from the floor and grabbed seven boards for the Tritons, who led by as many as 15 points in the game. Tyler McGrath finished with 13 points and five rebounds, while Mike Meza chipped in with 11 points, three rebounds and two assists off the bench. Meza was also named to the all-tournament team.
"it certainly wasn't a pretty effort, but we'll take it," head coach Chris Carlson said of his team's performance. "We gave up too many points in the second half and we've got a long way to go to get where we need to be defensively, but we did some good things tonight and we were able to pull out the win."
Myles Carrillo scored a game-high 18 points for Dominican, which went 0-3 during the Disney Classic. Jammal Clark finished with 16 points, while Mark Lewis put in 15 and Ryan McIntosh chipped in with 14.
Trailing 10-8 with 11:21 remaining in the first half, the Tritons scored 15 unaswered points over the next four minutes to take a 23-10 advantage. Meza found Hatch for an easy bucket to ignite the run and then hit three consecutive triples as UCSD assumed control.
The Penguins scored back-to-back baskets to cut the deficit to nine, but Meza answered with a layup for the Tritons and Brue hit a pair of free throws to give UCSD a 27-14 lead with 2:43 left in the half. The Tritons took a 29-19 advantage into the locker room at the break.
UCSD shot just under 53% (9-17) from the floor in the first stanza, while holding Dominican to just 36% (8-22). The Tritons were also 3-of-6 from the free throw line.
The Penguins came roaring back in the second half, outscoring the Tritons 13-3 over the first four and a half minutes to tie the game at 32. McIntosh hit two threes during the stretch to lead the Dominican comeback.
UCSD was able to weather the storm, however, as McGrath hit a pair of free throws and Hatch followed with a three-point play to stop the bleeding and give the Tritons a 37-33 advantage. UCSD extended its lead to nine at 44-35 following a McGrath triple a minute and a half later and a layup by Dylan Bohanan with 6:42 remaining gave the Tritons 56-42 cushion.
Trailing 62-47, the Penguins refused to roll over, storming all the way back to within three at 66-63 with 1:25 left. Clark and Lewis combined to score 12 points as Dominican made it interesting down the stretch.
That's as close as the Penguins would get though as the Tritons sank 12 free throws in the final 1:24 to hold off Dominican and ice the victory.
Dominican shot just under 45% (22-49) for the game, but hit 14-of-27 in the second half, 52%. The Penguins finished 8-of-18 from the three-point line with six of their threes coming during the decisive second half.
UCSD held a 31-18 advantage on the glass and finished +13 at the free throw line.
The Tritons will return to action next Sunday when they host Caltech in a scrimmage at 1:00 p.m. at RIMAC Arena. UCSD will then resume nonconference play at Academy of Art University on Saturday, November 19.
2011 Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic All-Tournament Team
Dan Comas, Chestnut Hill College
John Allen, Western Washington
Rory Blanche, Western Washington
Mike Meza, UC San Diego
Christian Hatch, UC San Diego
Most Valuable Player: Christian Hatch, UC San Diego