Game No. 14
UC San Diego Tritons (5-8, 1-7) vs. Cal State East Bay Pioneers (6-5, 4-3)
Friday, January 13, 2012 • 7:30 p.m.
RIMAC Arena (5,000) • La Jolla, Calif.
Game No. 15
UC San Diego Tritons vs. Cal State Monterey Bay Otters
Saturday, January 14, 2012 • 7:30 p.m.
RIMAC Arena (5,000) • La Jolla, Calif.
First Things First
After a pair of tough road losses, the UC San Diego men's basketball team comes home for four straight over the next two weeks, looking to get things moving in the right direction. UCSD will host upstart Cal State East Bay on Friday evening, before welcoming Cal State Monterey Bay to town on Saturday. As usual, both games will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. or immediately following the women's contests. Friday and Saturday's games will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1700 in San Diego, with Jack Cronin standing in for Craig Elsten on play-by-play this week.
On the Record
UCSD enters Friday's matchup with Cal State East Bay with an overall record of 5-8 and a 1-7 mark in California Collegiate Athletic Association play after falling to both Cal State Stanislaus and Chico State over the weekend. The Tritons have lost three straight and seven of their last nine and currently find themselves in last place in the conference standings with 14 games remaining. With that said, UCSD has an excellent opportunity to get back in the CCAA playoff hunt over the next several weeks, with eight of its next 10 games at home. The Tritons are 2-2 in four home games so far this season, winning two of their last three in front of the RIMAC Arena faithful.
The Lonely Road
The road proved to be a difficult place for UCSD once again last week, as the Tritons went 0-2 during a two-game Northern California swing. UCSD dropped a 78-72 overtime decision at Cal State Stanislaus on Friday and then suffered a 66-56 setback at the hands of Chico State to conclude the trip on Saturday. The Tritons are now just 1-5 in true road games this season following those losses, with their lone victory coming in a nonconference matchup at Academy of Art on Nov. 19. UCSD has lost all five of its conference games on the road in 2011-12 and hasn't registered a victory over a CCAA opponent away from home since upsetting No. 13 Cal State Dominguez Hills, 61-59, on Feb. 18 of last season. The Tritons are averaging just 60.8 points and shooting 40% from the field on the road, compared to their overall average of 67.8 points on 44% shooting.
It Must Be Around Here Somewhere..
After shooting 51% from the field in a 72-50 rout of San Francisco State on Dec. 29, the Tritons have shot a combined 37% (58-156) in the three games since, losing to Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Stanislaus and Chico State. UCSD shot just 38% from the floor in a 66-52 loss to the league-leading Broncos on Dec. 30 and finished at 36% and 39% against the Warriors and Wildcats last week. Reviewing a stat that has been mentioned multiple times in this space, the Tritons have yet win a game this season when they shoot less than 50% from the field, going 0-8 in such cases. Conversely, UCSD has been extremely successful when shooting better than 50% from the floor, winning all five of its games when that happens. If the first 13 games of 2011-12 are any indication, the Tritons are going to have to shoot the ball better if they're going to make a run.
UCSD Probable Starters - Notes
G - James McCann • So., 5-11, 165 - Averaging 8.6 points and 5.4 assists over the past five games.
G - Tyler McGrath • Jr., 6-3, 175 - Finished with a career-high 19 points in overtime loss at Cal State Stanislaus.
F - Justin Brue • Sr., 6-5, 215 - Scored in double figures for the first time since Dec. 2 on Saturday.
F - Ryan Peters • Jr., 6-4, 200 - Shooting 69% from the field in UCSD's last six games.
C - Christian Hatch • Sr., 6-8, 260 - Leads UCSD in both scoring and rebounding through 13 games this season.
Senior center Christian Hatch is in the midst of another outstanding season for the Tritons, averaging team-highs of 14.2 points and 7.0 rebounds through the team's first 13 games. The Henderson, Nev. native is shooting a career-best 50.4% from the field and has hit 72.5% of his attempts from the free throw line. He has scored in double figures a total of nine times this season and has tallied three double-doubles on the year, including an impressive 20-point, 10-rebound performance on the road against CCAA rival Cal State San Bernardino on Dec. 19. Hatch finished with 12 points and six boards in UCSD's loss to Chico State last week, hitting just three of his 10 shots from the field, but converting all six of his attempts from the foul line.
Just Brue It
Junior forward Justin Brue recorded his first career double-double in a losing effort against Chico State on Saturday, tallying 12 points and a season-high 10 rebounds in 29 minutes of work. He dropped five of his 10 shots from the field and sank 2-of-3 at the charity stripe to reach double figures for the fifth time this season. A native of Hayward, Calif., Brue enters Friday's game averaging 8.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He is shooting 44% from the field and has hit better than half of his shots in five games this season. Brue currently ranks fourth on the team in scoring, second in rebounding and fourth in field goal percentage. He scored a season-high 18 points in the Tritons' 80-66 triumph at Academy of Art on Nov. 19.
Scouting the Pioneers
Cal State East Bay comes to town with an overall record of 6-5 and a 4-3 mark in CCAA play after splitting two games at Cal Poly Pomona and San Francisco State last week. The Pioneers dropped a narrow 57-54 decision with the Broncos on Thursday, but bounced back with a 78-72 triumph over the Gators two nights later... Junior guard Mark Samuels is CSUEB's primary offensive weapon, averaging 16.1 points on 50% shooting through 11 games. He is also hauling down 5.3 rebounds and dishing out a team-high 3.4 assists per night... The Pioneers are currently averaging 76.5 points per game as a team, which ranks second in the CCAA behind only Humboldt State's 77.2. Defensively, CSUEB ranks 11th, allowing 74.4... UCSD has won five of its seven previous matchups with Cal State East Bay after sweeping the Pioneers in 2010-11. The Tritons recorded a 69-55 home win on Dec. 14, before downing East Bay by a final margin of 64-53 three weeks later in Hayward.
Scouting the Otters
Cal State Monterey Bay begins the week with an overall record of 2-9 and a 1-6 tally in conference play after losing to San Francisco State (92-82) and Cal Poly Pomona (66-39) last week. The Otters have lost six straight overall... Junior guard Brandon Ward is averaging a team-high 14.1 points, while junior forward Derrick Anderson is putting up 13.7 points and grabbing 6.5 boards... CSUMB is averaging 67.6 points per game offensively, a number that ranks 10th in the CCAA, while the defense has surrendered 73.8, which ranks ninth... The Tritons trail the all-time series with the Otters 9-6 after dropping both meetings with Monterey Bay last season. The Otters won the first matchup of the year, 75-72, on Dec. 3 in Seaside, before claiming the rematch, 70-60, at RIMAC on Spirit Night.
UCSD currently ranks ninth in the CCAA in scoring offense, averaging 67.8 points per game... Defensively, the Tritons rank sixth, allowing 66.7... UCSD ranks third in the league in rebounding, averaging 31.5 boards per game... The Tritons are 4-1 when they outrebound their opponent this season and just 1-7 when the opposition controls the glass... After hitting a season-high 11 threes against Cal State Stanislaus on Friday, UCSD hit just 3-of-10 from downtown against Chico State... The Warriors' 78 points was the most any team has scored on the Tritons this season... They also gave up 78 in a loss to Western Washington on Nov. 5... After taking on Cal State East Bay and Cal State Monterey Bay this week, UCSD will host Sonoma State and Humboldt State Jan. 20-21.
UCSD Games to Air on ESPN 1700 in 2011-12
In November, the UC San Diego Athletics Department announced a partnership with ESPN Radio 1700 that will carry 16 Triton men's basketball games live locally during the 2011-12 season. ESPN 1700 will broadcast a total of 12 home games and four road contests this season, marking the first time UCSD basketball will air on terrestrial radio. Craig Elsten, who is in his third season as the voice of Triton basketball, will serve as play-by-play announcer, while Jack Cronin, Executive Producer at XX Sports 1090 and ESPN 1700, will handle the color commentary duties.
UCSD Picked to Finish 10th in CCAA Standings
UC San Diego was was selected to finish 10th in the California Collegiate Athletic Association regular season standings, according to the league's annual preseason coaches poll that was released in October. UCSD, which finished 11th in the conference with a 6-16 record last season, received 32 points in the poll. Defending regular season champion Humboldt State was picked to win the 2011-12 CCAA title, receiving nine first place votes and a total of 119 points. Cal State San Bernardino collected 106 points and two first place votes to finish second, while Cal State Dominguez Hills was third after garnering 90 points and the remaining first place vote. Cal Poly Pomona tallied 89 points to finish fourth, followed by Cal State L.A. (77), Cal State Stanislaus (74), Chico State (70), Sonoma State (53) and San Francisco State (47) in fifth through ninth places, respectively.
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