Chico State men’s basketball fall to number one ranked UC San Diego

Noah Andrews

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Home court advantage didn’t help much last night as the Chico State Wildcats fell to UC San Diego 78-57, adding to their consecutive loss streak now at four games.

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From left to right: Freshman Brennan Wheeler, senior Keith Datu, freshman Kevin Wright Jr., Willie the Wildcat and freshman Joshua Hamilton. Preparing for their game against UC San Diego. Photo credit: Christian Solis

From the outset, Chico struggled to string stops together, allowing the Tritons to convert 60.7 percent of their looks from the field and 50 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. Their inability to scare their opponents off the three-point line was their ultimate downfall, as the Wildcats headed into halftime down 50-27.

“Our defense was horrible in the first half, to give up 50 points against anybody is unacceptable and ridiculous,” Head Coach Greg Clink said after the game. “UC San Diego is the best team in the conference in my opinion, but not 50 points in the first half good.”

Despite a rough first half defensively, Chico State made considerable adjustments and held the visitors to 28 points on 34.6 percent shooting in the second. Even after a second-half offensive surge pulled Chico to within 15 points, the lead that had been built by the Tritons in the first half proved too substantial to overcome.

Despite a poor team showing, a couple players quietly put together some very solid performances. Sophomore Center Malik Duffy shone brightest, leading the team in scoring with 17 points while converting his three-point attempts at a 42.7 percent clip.

Duffy stressed the importance of keeping the team’s morale high despite the rough stretch of games the team has played over the past weeks.

“We can’t hang our heads or blame each other…” Duffy said. “We have to stick together and stay positive.”

Stay positive they must, for Chico State Men’s Basketball has another chance to defend their home court Saturday night against 12th place San Marcos, who currently sit below Chico with a 1-10 record in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) standings.

A game that offers the Wildcats both a chance to snap their losing streak and build some momentum before facing number three ranked Humboldt State next Thursday.

Noah Andrews can be reached at [email protected] or @SPORTSFROMNOAH on Twitter.

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