SAN DIEGO - Freshman forward Drew Dyer had a team-high 13 points in his debut for the UC San Diego men's basketball team, but the Tritons fell, 80-56, in exhibition play against No. 20 San Diego State Monday night at Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl.
It was the first and only exhibition contest of the season for UCSD.
"I saw a lot of good things, and I was very encouraged by our performance," said UCSD head coach Chris Carlson, in his sixth year leading the program. "I thought we competed. We weren't always sharp early with our offense, but when we did get down and execute, I thought we got some great shots."
Both Dyer and junior guard James McCann were 4-for-6 from the field. McCann totaled 10 points, while Dyer hit three of his four three-point attempts. McCann was 2-for-2 from long range. Senior forward Justin Brue and sophomore center Brandon Blanchard hauled down a game-high seven rebounds apiece. Both had four offensive boards. Senior guard Tyler McGrath and junior guard Matt Bailey each tallied three assists.
UCSD came out sluggish in the first stanza, making just nine of 28 shots (32%) en route to a 14-point deficit (38-24) at halftime. However, the Tritons picked up the pace in the second half, hitting 12 of 29 attempts to up their shooting percentage by almost 10 points. Overall, UCSD shot 37% (21-57) from the field.
"We were playing a real tough team" said McCann. "We came out a little bit slow, dug ourselves a hole. It was tough to battle back from it later in the game, but I'm encouraged. Our guys played hard the whole game."
Three Aztecs reached double-figure point totals, including Chase Tapley, who led all players with 15 points. Jamaal Franklin followed with 13 and JJ O'Brien had 10 while also posting a team-best six rebounds. Winston Shepard had eight points, four boards, two assists and three blocks, half the team's total.
SDSU made 49% of its shots on the night and scored 23 points off of 15 Triton turnovers.
With an attendance of 12,414, it was the second consecutive sold-out exhibition game at Viejas Arena. The Aztecs downed Cal State San Marcos, 67-46, on Nov. 1 in the first-ever exhibition sellout in program history.
UCSD opens its regular season this week on the road at the Dixie State Classic in St. George, Utah. The Tritons face host Dixie State on Friday, Nov. 9 (6:30 p.m. PT) and Fresno Pacific on Saturday, Nov. 10 (4:30 p.m. PT). Both contests will be covered by live video and live stats.
It was also SDSU's final warm-up before kicking off its regular season on Friday, Nov. 9 against ninth-ranked Syracuse in the "Battle on the Midway," which will take place aboard the aircraft carrier USS Midway on San Diego Harbor.
"I feel very confident about our group going forward," said Carlson. "There are a lot of things for us to build on. Just like San Diego State getting ready for Syracuse, our biggest thing is getting ready for a very good Dixie State team on Friday."
-- UCSDtritons.com --