Block party: Justin Briggs makes history while Wildcats drop one to UCSD

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Block party: Justin Briggs makes history while Wildcats drop one to UCSD

Justin Briggs sets the Chico State record for 154 total blocks.

Justin Briggs sets the Chico State record for 154 total blocks.

Hana Beaty

Justin Briggs sets the Chico State record for 154 total blocks.

Hana Beaty

Hana Beaty

Justin Briggs sets the Chico State record for 154 total blocks.

Matthew Wreden

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With eight minutes left in the first half, Justin Briggs was at the top of the key coming off a pick and roll when he switched to guard UC San Diego standout guard, Tyrell Roberts. Roberts drove to the rack to try and put a layup on the 6 foot 10 inch senior forward – big mistake.

Briggs easily swatted Robert’s layup, recording his 154th block overall for the Wildcats. Briggs has now inked his name as Chico State’s No. 1 block leader. He finished with a double-double going for 13 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.

While a Chico State record was broken on Thursday night, the Wildcats fell short by a score of 74-82 against the UC San Diego Tritons. The No. 4-ranked Tritons (22-1) had their game plan start with splashing threes all over the court. Their offense went 7-17 from behind the arc during the first half. The No. 24-ranked Wildcats (16-5) could not keep up and found themselves in a hole trailing 18-33 with four minutes remaining in the first half. 

“They are the No. 4-team in the nation, so obviously they were going to come out swinging. They are the best three pointing team that I have ever played against,” junior guard Isaiah Brooks said.

However, the Wildcats did not give up and were able to chip away at their lead. They put up 10 points while limiting the Tritons to four points during the stretch. The Wildcats entered halftime trailing 28-37.

“At the end of the day, it came down to playing defense. They went on a run and at least we competed and made a game out of it,” Brooks said. 

Emerging out of the half, UCSD continued to drain threes and increased the score to 41-59. Christian Oshita of the Tritons contributed five 3-pointers and ended his night with 20 total points and six rebounds. 

“They shoot the ball one through five like no other. That’s their forefront: being able to shoot the ball,” Brooks said.

The Wildcats hung around and kept the game interesting all the way to the end. They were able to keep chipping away again at their lead, increasing their score to 74-79 with one minute left.

Yet again, another 3-pointer sealed it for the Tritons. Roberts cashed in a three with 30 seconds remaining. He buried seven 3-pointers against the Wildcats and went home with 30 points on the night. The Wildcats were unable to mount the comeback.

Hana Beaty
Isiah Brooks guards the ball as UC San Diego player attempts to steal.

Credit is given to UCSD as they are, no undoubtedly, tough competition. The Tritons faced the Wildcats on Jan. 5 in La Jolla where the Wildcats came out on top 81-73. That was the only loss for the Tritons so far this season.

“There were some stretches where we had good offensive possessions and there were some good stretches where we played good defense. It just comes down to being as consistent as possible to win these games,” Brooks said.

Looking for a win, the Wildcats take on California State San Marcos next on Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Acker Gym.

Matthew Wreden can be reached at [email protected] or @MattWreden70 on Twitter.