Game No. 26
UC San Diego Tritons (10-15, 6-14) at Humboldt State Lumberjacks (17-7, 13-7)
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 • 7:30 p.m.
Lumberjack Arena (2,000) • Arcata, Calif.
Game No. 27
UC San Diego Tritons at Sonoma State Seawolves
Friday, February 24, 2012 • 7:30 p.m.
The Wolves' Den (2,000) • Rohnert Park, Calif.
First Things First
After splitting road games at Cal State Monterey Bay and Cal State East Bay over the weekend, the UC San Diego men's basketball team will wrap up its season against two of the top four teams in the California Collegiate Athletic Association this week. The Tritons will travel to Arcata for a matchup with Humboldt State on Wednesday, before taking on red hot Sonoma State on Friday in Rohnert Park. Both games will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. or immediately following the women's contests.
On the Record
UCSD enters the final week of the regular season with an overall record of 10-15 and a 6-14 mark in CCAA play after going 1-1 in Northern California last week. The Tritons put together a complete performance in an 80-67 triumph over Cal State Monterey Bay on Friday, but couldn't slow down the Cal State East Bay offense the following night, dropping an 83-71 decision with the Pioneers. Friday's victory over CSUMB snapped UCSD's seven-game road losing streak as the Tritons won away from home for the first time since defeating Academy of Art in a nonconference matchup on Nov. 19.
Quick Turn Around
With the final two games of the regular season moved up by two days this week, the Tritons will have had just three days off when they take the court against Humboldt State on Wednesday. Two of those days "off" will be travel days as UCSD returned home from its Monterey Bay-East Bay trip on Sunday, but had to turn around and leave again on Tuesday to play in Arcata on Wednesday. When this week is all said in done, the Tritons will have played four times in eight days, with all four games in NorCal. Talk about a hectic way to wrap up your schedule.
Offense Rebounds in Win Over CSUMB
After shooting a season-low 24% from the field in a 55-42 home loss to Cal State Stanislaus on Feb. 11, UCSD's offense bounced back in a big way against Cal State Monterey Bay on Friday. The Tritons shot just under 52% for the game, which was their second highest percentage of the season, and hit 7-of-16 from the three-point line, 44%. UCSD got scoring from multiple places as Tyler McGrath (21), Christian Hatch (18) and MacKenzie McCullough (15) scored in double figures, while James McCann and Mike Meza finished with nine points apiece. UCSD jumped on CSUMB early and never looked back, leading by as many as 20 in a much-needed road win. The performance marked the first time the Tritons have scored 80 points in a game since they defeated Dixie State by a final margin of 81-67 on Dec. 11.
UCSD has been shooting the ball well from the three-point line lately, converting more than 41% of its attempts over the past six games. The Tritons have made at least 44% of their treys in four of those six games and, if you exclude the off night against Cal State Stanislaus, UCSD's percentage over that span jumps to over 43%. The Tritons hit 18-of-41 (44%) from downtown against Cal State Monterey Bay and Cal State East Bay last week and are now shooting better than 36% from the three-point line for the season. That figure ranks fourth in the CCAA.
UCSD Probable Starters - Notes
G - James McCann • So., 5-11, 165 - Has scored in double figures in 11 of the last 14 games.
G - Tyler McGrath • Jr., 6-3, 175 - Scored a career-high 21 points on 6-of-11 shooting in win over CSUMB.
G - MacKenzie McCullough • So., 6-4, 195 - Averaged 15 points and four boards in two games last week.
F - Justin Brue • Jr., 6-5, 215 - Has a total of nine blocked shots over the past four games.
C - Christian Hatch • Sr., 6-8, 245 - Leads UCSD with three double-doubles in 2011-12.
Tyler McGrath and Mike Meza each established new career-highs last week as McGrath scored 21 points in UCSD's win over Cal State Monterey Bay and Meza put in 21 off the bench in a losing effort against Cal State East Bay. McGrath finished 6-of-11 from the floor and hit 3-of-7 from downtown to surpass his previous high of 19 points, while Meza dropped 7-of-10 from behind the arc to best his old mark, which was also 19. The duo has accounted for the majority of UCSD's three-point shooting this season as they have hit 84 of the team's 146 triples through 25 games. For the season, McGrath is averaging 10.4 points on 39% shooting, while Meza is the Tritons' top scorer off the bench, putting up 7.5 points and shooting 45% from the floor.
Senior center Christian Hatch is in the midst of another outstanding season for the Tritons, averaging team-highs of 12.6 points and 7.2 rebounds in 22 games. The Henderson, Nev. native is shooting just under 51% from the field and has scored in double figures a total of 13 times this season. He has tallied three double-doubles on the year, including an impressive 16-point, 14-rebound performance against Cal State East Bay last month. Hatch was outstanding in two games last week, averaging 14.5 points on 67% shooting, while also grabbing 7.5 rebounds. He had a huge hand in the win over Cal State Monterey Bay, finished with 18 points and six boards in 27 minutes. He converted eight of his 10 shots from the field.
Scouting the Lumberjacks
Humboldt State enters Wednesday's matchup with an overall record of 17-7 and a 13-7 mark in the CCAA after losing to both San Francisco State and Cal Poly Pomona last week... The Lumberjacks suffered an 82-75 defeat at the hands of the Gators on Thursday, before falling to the Broncos by a final margin of 64-47 two nights later... HSU had won four straight and 10 of 11 before the back-to-back losses last week... The Lumberjacks are currently tied with Sonoma State for third place in the CCAA standings... Senior forward Randy Hunter is averaging a team-high 13.7 points, while senior guard Brandon Sperling is putting up 13.3... UCSD has won just three of 15 previous meetings with Humboldt State after losing the first matchup of the year, 65-64, on Jan. 21 in La Jolla... Tyler McGrath scored 17 points and Justin Brue put in 14, but it wasn't enough as the Tritons' comeback bid fell short.
Scouting the Seawolves
Sonoma State has a 15-9 overall record and an identical 13-7 tally in conference play after defeating Cal Poly Pomona (60-53) and San Francisco State (77-61) last week... The Seawolves are the hottest team in the CCAA right now, having won eight of their last nine... Freshman forward Justin Herold is the team's leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 13.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game... UCSD trails the all-time series with Sonoma State 17-11, but defeated the Seawolves earlier this season, winning 63-62 at RIMAC in January... James McCann scored a game-high 18 points, including a clutch free throw with 10 seconds remaining that sealed the victory... SSU has lost just once since then, a 79-73 defeat to Cal State L.A. on Feb. 9.
UCSD currently ranks 10th in the CCAA in scoring offense at 64.6 points per game, while the defense ranks fifth, allowing just 65.3... The Tritons got to the free throw line a total of 53 times against Cal State Monterey Bay and Cal State East Bay, but converted just 33, 62%... Mike Meza's seven threes against the Pioneers was the most by a UCSD player since Tyler Acevedo also made seven in a win over Cal State Stanislaus in Feb. 2009... The Tritons need two victories this week to surpass last year's win total...UCSD finished with an overall record of 11-17 and a 6-16 mark in the CCAA last season.
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