CARSON, Calif. -
Robert Willhite scored 15 points to lead four players in doubles as Cal State Dominguez Hills defeated UC San Diego, 63-53, in a California Collegiate Athletic Association matchup on Friday evening at the Torodome in Carson.
The Toros led by as many as 20 points in the game, handing the Tritons their second straight loss to open conference play. Cal State Dominguez Hills earned its first victory of the year, improving to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in the CCAA.
UCSD, which was coming off a tough 66-63 loss to Cal State San Bernardino in La Jolla last week, falls to 3-3 overall and 0-2 in conference. After winning three of their first four games to open the season, the Tritons will look to end to their two-game skid on Saturday against Cal State L.A. in Los Angeles.
"In this league you can't dig holes for yourself on the road in the first half," head coach Chris Carlson said. "We didn't do the things we needed to do to be successful and you have to credit Dominguez. They made us pay for every mistake."
Willhite was the game's high scorer, finishing 6-of-13 from the field. He also tallied four rebounds and three steals in 33 minutes. George McGrew and Wayne Andrews finished with 11 points apiece for the Toros, while Myron Green added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Justin Brue finished with 12 points to lead UCSD offensively, but he didn't have much help as no other Triton reached double figures. The junior guard also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, dished out four assists and blocked two shots, turning in one of his best all-around efforts of the season.
Sophomore point guard James McCann tallied nine points on 3-of-6 shooting to go with a pair of assists, while MacKenzie McCullough chipped in with eight points off the bench.
The Tritons entered Friday's contest averaging 78.2 points per game, but struggled to find their rhythm against the Toro defense, finishing with a season-low 53 points. UCSD shot 40% for the game, converting 18-of-45 attempts from the field.
Cal State Dominguez Hills shot 43%, hitting 25-of-58 from the floor. The Toros outscored the Tritons 26-16 in the paint and scored 21 points of 17 UCSD turnovers.
CSUDH jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but UCSD rallied back to take a 12-11 advantage on a three-pointer by McCullough with 11:42 remaining in the first half.
The Toros would answer with a crushing 20-4 run over the next eight minutes, taking a 31-16 lead with just under four minutes left in the period. Dominguez hit two threes during the stretch and Willhite capped off the run with back-to-back buckets.
UCSD was able to pull within 35-24 at halftime, but CSUDH scored seven of the first nine points to open the second half and eventually pushed its lead to 59-39 with seven and a half minutes remaining.
The Tritons closed the game on a 7-0 spurt, but it was too little, too late and the Toros sent their crowd home happy.
Dominguez shot 46% (12-26) in the second half, while UCSD shot 37.5% (9-24).
Tip-off for the Tritons' matchup with Cal State L.A. is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Eagles Nest. The Golden Eagles suffered a 61-48 loss to Cal State San Bernardino on Friday.