PROBABLE TRITON STARTERS (2012-13 stats listed)
G - #10 James McCann (Sr., 5-11/165): 26 GP, 30.8 MPG, 13.6 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 4.8 APG, 0.8 SPG
G - #15 Aleks Lipovic (RFr., 6-4/185): Redshirt
G - #23 Hunter Walker (So., 6-4/205): 23 GP, 14.7 MPG, 4.7 PPG, 1.1 RPG
F - #11 MacKenzie McCullough (Sr., 6-4/195): 24 GP, 16.0 MPG, 3.1 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.5 BPG
F - #14 Drew Dyer (So., 6-6/210): 26 GP, 25.8 MPG, 9.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.0 APG
WHO'S BACK, WHO'S NOT SNAPSHOT
UCSD returns a pair of starters from last season's team that advanced to the CCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. Senior James McCann, a 2012-13 All-CCAA Second Team pick, returns at the point guard position. McCann was second in the league in assists (4.8/game) and eighth in scoring (13.6 points/game). Sophomore forward Drew Dyer is also back after averaging 9.3 points and 5.2 rebounds a game as a freshman. UCSD's leading scorer and All-CCAA Second Team guard Tyler McGrath was lost to graduation. Among all league players, he was first in free throw percentage (.888), fourth in scoring (14.7 points/game) and fifth in three-pointers made (52). Forward Justin Brue also graduated after averaging a team-best 7.0 rebounds a game. He ranked sixth in the CCAA in boards and seventh in blocks (1.0/game). Guard Ryan Peters, who started all 26 games, graduated as well. For a complete breakdown of who's back and who isn't, click here.
HEAD COACH ERIC OLEN
Long-time UCSD assistant coach Eric Olen was named the program's 12th head coach on Oct. 1, 2013. Olen joined the Tritons as a second assistant for the 2004-05 season and was promoted to first assistant the next season. He was on the bench during the 2007-08 campaign when UCSD won its first CCAA Tournament title and earned its first berth in the NCAA Tournament. As a player at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., Olen helped the Badgers to three straight appearances in the NAIA National Tournament, including trips to the NAIA Elite Eight in 2000 and 2001.
LAST YEAR IN PRESEASON PLAY
UCSD opened its 2012-13 slate with an exhibition game at San Diego State, ranked 20th in NCAA Division I. The Tritons fell, 80-56, as the Aztecs made over 49 percent of their shots and scored 23 points off 15 UCSD turnovers. Drew Dyer led the Tritons with 13 points on 4-for-6 shooting in his debut for the team. James McCann totaled 10 points, also making four of six shots. Brandon Blanchard and Justin Brue each totaled a game-high seven rebounds. For SDSU, Chase Tapley had 15 points and Jamaal Franklin dropped 13.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS
Pitt finished its 2012-13 season with a 24-9 overall record and placed fourth in the Big East with a 12-6 mark. The Panthers, who play in the ACC this season, advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 11th time in the last 12 years, where they were defeated by Wichita State in the second round. Pitt returns three starters, including forward Lamar Patterson, who averaged 10.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game last season. Center Talib Zanna also returns after averaging 9.6 points and 6.1 boards in 2012-13. Leading scorer Tray Woodall (11.5 PPG) was lost to graduation. Over 10 seasons at Pitt, head coach Jamie Dixon has compiled a 262-86 record. Following Friday's game, the Panthers play a second and final exhibition against Slippery Rock at home on Nov. 1. They open the regular season by hosting Savannah State on Nov. 8.
ABOUT THE SERIES
UC San Diego and Pitt have never met in preseason or regular season play.
THE TIES THAT BIND
This game was set up by former UCSD head coach Chris Carlson. Carlson worked at Pitt (with Panther head coach Jamie Dixon) as the Director of Basketball Operations from 2001-03. He recently left UC San Diego to take an Associate Commissioner position at the West Coast Conference following six seasons at the helm of the Triton basketball program.
UCSD Athletics has partnered with Advanced-Online to provide a web-based, on-demand option for UCSD apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours. Visit the site at UCSDTritonsGear.com.
THE BIG PICTURE
We want to reward you for posting your creative photos showing Triton spirit. Tweet, Facebook or Instagram your pics and include our #TritonsRising hashtag. At the end of every month, we'll pick our favorite photos and dole out some swag to the winners!
Looking to the future, UCSD plays its second and final exhibition of the preseason at NCAA Division I Grand Canyon on Friday, Nov. 1, in Phoenix. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. The Tritons open their regular season on Friday, Nov. 15, when they host Daemen College at RIMAC Arena at 7 p.m.