It took a lot longer than they'd hoped but UC San Diego finally got to play its first basketball game as a Division 1 program against another Division 1 program. The Tritons hosted UC Irvine on Saturday night at RIMAC Arena.
They didn't win, but they showed they're not far away from being a threat.
The Anteaters won 79-65 but had to come from behind to do it. The Tritons scored first when redshirt freshman guard Jace Roquemore drove to the hoop for a lay-up, the first D-1 bucket in program history. UC San Diego led 28-24 at halftime but UCI shot the lights out in the 2nd half, scoring 55 points in the final 20 minutes.
Bryce Pope, a redshirt freshman guard from Torrey Pines High School, led UC San Diego with 21 points. Toni Rocak, a junior forward from Switzerland, was right behind him with 20 points. They just needed a little more help. No other Triton scored more than six. UCSD missed the scoring punch of senior guard Mikey Howell, who missed the game with a non-COVID-related illness.
The Anteaters were led by guard DJ Davis and his 23 points.
UCSD's next game, and what's expected to be the first Big West Conference game in program history, will be Friday at UC Santa Barbara.