Game No. 16
UC San Diego Tritons (6-9, 2-8) vs. Sonoma State Seawolves (7-7, 5-5)
Friday, January 20, 2012 • 7:30 p.m.
RIMAC Arena (5,000) • La Jolla, Calif.
Game No. 17
UC San Diego Tritons vs. Humboldt State Lumberjacks
Saturday, January 21, 2012 • 7:30 p.m.
RIMAC Arena (5,000) • La Jolla, Calif.
First Things First
After picking up a much-needed win over Cal State Monterey Bay on Saturday, the UC San Diego men's basketball team will look to build on that performance as California Collegiate Athletic Association play continues this week. UCSD will host Sonoma State on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m., before entertaining Humboldt State at the same time on Saturday. The SSU and HSU tilts will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1700 in San Diego, with Craig Elsten calling the action on Friday and Jack Cronin filling on Saturday.
On the Record
UCSD enters Friday's clash with Sonoma State with an overall record of 6-9 and a 2-8 mark in CCAA play after going 1-1 against Cal State East Bay and Cal State Monterey Bay last week. The Tritons lost a heartbreaking 80-79 overtime decision to the Pioneers on Friday, but bounced back with a gritty 71-67 win over the Otters on Saturday. UCSD, which snapped a four-game losing streak with the victory, currently sits in 10th place in the conference standings with 12 games remaining. The Tritons are currently three games behind Sonoma State and Cal State Stanislaus, which enter play this week tied for eighth place at 5-5 in CCAA play. Head coach Chris Carlson's squad is 3-3 through six games at RIMAC Arena this season.
Tritons Make Key Plays Late to Topple Monterey Bay
UCSD held off a furious comeback attempt to take down visiting Cal State Monterey Bay, 71-67, on Saturday evening at RIMAC Arena. The Tritons held a 12-point lead early in the second half, but saw the visitors come all the way back to tie it at 66 with 1:42 remaining. UCSD was able to answer though, outscoring CSUMB 5-1 from there, as James McCann converted a three-point play to break the tie with eight seconds left and Tyler McGrath sank two free throws on the Tritons' final possession to wrap it up. UCSD shot just 42% from the field, but hit 7-of-16 from downtown and finished +11 at the free throw line to pick up its first win since Dec. 29. McCann finished with 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting to lead the way for the Tritons, while Justin Brue also scored 19 and added a game-high six rebounds.
That's More Like It
After shooting a combined 37% from the field in losses to Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Stanislaus and Chico State from Dec. 30 to Jan. 7, UCSD shot the ball much better against Cal State East Bay and Cal State Monterey Bay last week. The Tritons shot an even 50% (29-58) in their loss to the Pioneers on Friday and then finished at a 42% (18-43) clip in the win over the Otters on Saturday. The loss to East Bay marked the first time the Tritons have lost when shooting at least 50% from the field this season after winning their first five games when reaching that mark. Conversely, Saturday's game marked the first time UCSD has won when making less than half of its shots from the field after going 0-8 the first eight games under those circumstances. UC San Diego currently ranks sixth in the CCAA in field goal percentage, shooting 44.3% from the floor this season.
UCSD Probable Starters - Notes
G - James McCann • So., 5-11, 165 - Averaged 20.5 points and 5.0 assists in UCSD's two games last week.
G - Tyler McGrath • Jr., 6-3, 175 - Leads UCSD with 27 threes on the season.
F - Justin Brue • Jr., 6-5, 215 - Scored a season-high 19 points and grabbed six rebounds in win over CSUMB.
F - Ryan Peters • Jr., 6-4, 200 - Finished with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting against Cal State East Bay.
C - Christian Hatch • Sr., 6-8, 260 - Sat out Saturday's game with a wrist injury.
Sophomore point guard had his best two games of the season last week, averaging a team-high 20.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists against Cal State East Bay and Cal State Monterey Bay. He converted 54% (13-24) of his shots for the week and drained 5-of-10 from the three-point line, 50%. The Carlsbad native was brilliant in the Tritons' 80-79 loss to the Pioneers, scoring a career-high 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting, while also tallying four rebounds and seven assists. He had a strong effort in the win over the Otters the following evening as well, finishing with a game-high 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting. For the season, McCann is averaging 9.9 points and a team-high 3.8 assists. He has scored in double figures in three of the last four games.
Just Brue It
Junior forward had a big week for the Tritons as well, averaging 17.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists in UCSD's two games. He shot a blistering 75% for the week, sinking 12-of-16 attempts from the field. After finishing with a stat line of 15 points, six rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals in the loss to Cal State East Bay on Friday, he came back with impressive performance against Cal State Monterey Bay on Saturday, scoring a season-high 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting. A native of Hayward, Calif., Brue enters Friday's contest averaging 9.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He is shooting just under 49% from the floor.
Scouting the Seawolves
Sonoma State enters Friday's matchup with an overall record of 7-7 and a 5-5 mark in CCAA play after knocking off both San Francisco State and Cal Poly Pomona at home last week... The Seawolves posted an 81-69 triumph over the Gators on Thursday, before dispatching the Broncos by a final margin of 70-64 two nights later... Freshman forward Justin Herold is averaging team-highs of 12.9 and 6.1 points per game, while senior guard Steven Pratt is putting up 11.9 points and dishing out 5.4 assists... The Seawolves currently rank fourth in the CCAA averaging 72.7 points per game offensively, while the defense is allowing 73.2, a figure that ranks ninth... UCSD trails the all-time series with Sonoma State 17-10 after splitting the season series with the Seawolves in 2010-11.
Scouting the Lumberjacks
Humboldt State currently has an overall record of 10-4 and a 6-4 tally in conference play after taking down Cal Poly Pomona (74-64) and San Francisco State (87-70) at home last week... The Lumberjacks have won three straight after losing three of four from Dec. 17 through Jan. 6... Senior guard Brandon Sperling is leading four players in double figures for the Lumberjacks at 14.0 points per game on 45% shooting, while senior forward Randy Hunter is averaging 13.6 points and a team-high 6.7 boards... HSU leads the CCAA in scoring offense at 77.6 points per game, while the defense ranks seventh, allowing 69.6 ... UCSD has won just three of 14 previous meetings with Humboldt State after losing both matchups with the Lumberjacks a year ago.
UCSD currently ranks sixth in the CCAA in scoring offense, averaging 68.7 points per game... Defensively, the Tritons also rank sixth, allowing 67.6... UCSD leads the league in free throw percentage at .751 and ranks second in three-point percentage at .377... The Tritons missed 12 free throws (18-30) in their one-point loss to Cal State East Bay on Friday... UCSD had missed a total of 13 foul shots in the previous five games combined... The Triton defense gave up a season-high 80 points in the loss to the Pioneers after allowing 78 in a loss at Cal State Stanislaus on Jan. 6... Christian Hatch recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 16 points and 14 rebounds against East Bay... After taking on Sonoma State and Humboldt State this week, UCSD will travel to Cal Poly Pomona and San Francisco State Jan. 26 and 28.
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.
Now there are now more ways than ever to follow the Tritons. Of course, you've always got ucsdtritons.com at your disposal, but our social media scene is growing by the hour. Get instant updates on UCSD Athletics on Twitter @UCSDtritons and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/UCSDtritons. For a more visually appealing approach, watch us on YouTube at youtube.com/ucsdathletics. For all things men's basketball, be sure to follow Coach Carlson @UCSD_Basketball.