CSUN men’s basketball falls to UC San Diego amid offensive struggles


Michael Dumansky

Atin Wright drives toward the basket.

Michael Dumansky

Michael Dumansky and Edward Segal

The Matadors hoped to win back-to-back contests for the first time this season after snapping their eight-game losing streak Saturday against Cal State Fullerton, but were plagued by their inefficient shooting as they dropped the game to UC San Diego, 65-57.

Shooting 33.3% from the field and 24% from beyond the arc, the Matadors (4-17, 1-9 Big West Conference) were unable to find their offensive rhythm in the battle. They kept it close thanks to their defense, earning 13 steals and scoring 15 points off turnovers. The Tritons (8-13, 3-6 Big West Conference) shot 8-17 from three and outscored the Matadors 26-18 in the paint, both of which proved key to the eight-point difference between the teams.

The Tritons jumped out to an 11-2 lead, with eight of the points coming in the paint, before the Matadors made five of their next six shots to take a two-point lead, their largest of the game. San Diego jumped back in front with an 11-3 run and took a five-point lead into the second half.

An 18-8 run early in the second half saw the Tritons lead balloon to 15, with points in the paint continuing to be an x-factor. The Matadors were unable to cut the deficit to single digits until there were 34 seconds left, but the effort was not enough.

The Matadors bench scored 30 of the team’s 57 points, attempting to answer the call while the starters struggled, two of whom went scoreless. Bryce Pope led the Tritons with 20 points, playing all but one minute of the game, while Atin Wright put up 18 for the Matadors, each leading their team in points per game.

The Matadors will travel to UC Irvine for a game on Saturday to round out their January schedule, before returning to host UC Santa Barbara a week later.