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Photo by: Jimmy Gekas/Sideline Studios
Justin Brue (20) and the rested Tritons will look to snap their two-game skid against the Pioneers on Tuesday night.
UCSD Returns to Action Against Cal State East Bay, Humboldt State This Week
Release: Monday 12/13/2010 
by UCSD
The Schedule
Game No. 9
UC San Diego Tritons (5-3, 0-2) vs. Cal State East Bay (2-4, 0-2)
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
RIMAC Arena (5,000) • 7:30 pm

Game No. 10
UC San Diego Tritons vs. Humboldt State Lumberjacks (6-1, 2-1)
Sunday, December 19, 2010
RIMAC Arena (5,000) • 2:30 pm

Live Audio and Video
Both of the Tritons' games this week will be streamed live at ucsdtritons.com. To access the live broadcast, click here. Craig Elsten returns for his second season as the voice of UCSD men's and women's basketball.

Live Stats
Live stats for Tuesday's tilt with the Pioneers and Sunday's matchup with the Lumberjacks are available here.

First Things First
After a nine-day layoff to take final exams, the UC San Diego men's basketball team returns to the court as California Collegiate Athletic Association play resumes this week. The Tritons will host Cal State East Bay in their conference home opener on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m., before welcoming Humboldt State to town for a 2:30 matinee on Sunday. As always, both games will follow the women's contests and take place at RIMAC Arena on the UCSD campus.

For the Record
UCSD enters Tuesday's matchup with Cal State East Bay with an overall record of 5-3 and an 0-2 mark in the CCAA after falling to Cal State Monterey Bay and San Francisco State to open league play December 3-4. The Tritons had won three straight and five of their first six overall before losing to the Otters and Gators on the road. The 5-1 start was program's best in 11 seasons at the Division II level and marked UCSD's best mark through six games since the 1998-99 squad won its first nine games of the season.

Slow Starts Cost UCSD Against CSUMB, SFSU
The Tritons struggled out of the gates against Cal State Monterey Bay and San Francisco State and it cost them in both games. UCSD trailed by as many as 14 points in the opening period in the 75-72 loss to the Otters and fell behind by 21 in the first half of the 78-60 setback to the Gators the following evening. The Tritons were a combined 12-for-36, 33%, in both halves and went into the locker room with deficits of 13 points (36-23) and 19 points (38-19), respectively. The Tritons did win the second half in both contests, but they were unable to overcome the sizeable first half deficits and suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in 2010-11.

Scouting the Pioneers and Lumberjacks
• Cal State East Bay comes to town with an overall record of 2-4 after defeating Notre Dame de Namur, 77-66, on Saturday afternoon in Hayward. The Pioneers are also searching for their first league win following losses to San Francisco State (79-54) and Cal State Monterey Bay (67-60) two weeks ago. Sophomore guard Mark Samuels is the Pioneers' leading scorer at 17.0 points per night, while also averaging team-highs of 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists through six games. Senior forward Will Freedman is having a productive season thus far as well, averaging 15.0 points and 4.0 boards per game. He is also shooting a team-high 55% (38-69) from the field. The Pioneers currently rank eighth in the CCAA averaging 67.2 points per game offensively, while their defense is ranked last, allowing 79.5 on the other end.

• Humboldt State owns a 6-1 overall record and a 2-1 mark in CCAA play after knocking off Sonoma State by a 96-82 margin on Saturday. The Lumberjacks bounced back with a strong performance at home against the Seawolves after suffering their only loss of the season, a 73-58 setback at Cal State Stanislaus, on December 4. Junior forward Randy Hunter is averaging a team-high 16.1 points on 65% shooting and hauling in 6.1 rebounds, while junior guard Brandon Sperling is not far behind at 15.9 points and 4.0 boards. HSU owns the CCAA's top-ranked offense at 84.3 points per game, while the defense is allowing 69.4, a figure that ranks 10th. The Lumberjacks will face the Tritons in their only game this week.

Head-To-Head with CSUEB, HSU
UCSD has won three of the five previous meetings with Cal State East Bay and trails the all-time series with Humboldt State, 3-9. The Tritons swept the Pioneers in their first season as a member of the CCAA in 2009-10, picking up a 70-50 victory in Hayward on December 15 and then winning the February 16 rematch in La Jolla, 67-48. UCSD went 0-2 against HSU last season, falling to the Lumberjacks by a 74-60 margin in Arcata on January 21 and suffering an 87-69 defeat at RIMAC on February 26 to conclude the season.

UCSD Probable Starters - Notes
G - James McCann • Fr., 5-10, 165 - Scored in double figures in seven out of eight games this season.
G - Justin Brue • So., 6-4, 205 - Tallied 13 points and four rebounds in loss to Cal State Monterey Bay.
G - Casey Ryan • Sr., 6-4, 195 - Averaging team-highs of 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds.
F - Ryan Peters • So., 6-3, 200 - Third on the squad averaging 26.3 minutes per game.
C - Christian Hatch • Jr., 6-8, 245 - Shooting 51% from the field through eight games.

Ryan Air
Senior guard Casey Ryan averaged team-highs of 14.0 points and 11.5 rebounds, while shooting 47% from the field in UCSD's losses to Cal State Monterey Bay and San Francisco State two weeks ago. He finished with a double-double in each game, tallying 13 points and 13 boards against the Otters before racking up 15 and 10 the following night against the Gators. The Jackson, Calif. native currently leads UCSD in both categories, averaging 12.3 points and 8.3 caroms on the season. He ranks second in the CCAA in rebounding and 16th in scoring.

Center of Attention
Junior center Christian Hatch had a productive opening week of conference play for UCSD as well, averaging 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds at Cal State Monterey Bay and San Francisco State. He hit 50% (10-20) of his shots from the field and also finished with a pair of blocked shots. The Henderson, Nev. native had a monster effort in the three-point defeat to the Otters, tallying career-highs of 24 points and 14 boards in a season-high 33 minutes. Hatch is now averaging 11.5 points and 5.6 rebounds on the season. He is shooting a team-high 51% from the field.

Just Brue It
Sophomore guard Justin Brue has scored 10 points or more in three of the Tritons' last five games and enters Friday's matchup with Cal State East Bay averaging 9.3 points per game, a figure that ranks fourth on the squad. He converted 6-of-10 shots en route to 13 points in the loss to Cal State Monterey Bay and finished with eight points and five boards against San Francisco State the following night. Brue scored a career-high 18 points on 7-for-16 shooting in UCSD's 81-61 victory over Academy of Art on November 21.

Tritons Picked to Finish 11th in CCAA Coaches Poll
UCSD was selected to finish 11th in the California Collegiate Athletic Association regular season standings, according to the league's preseason coaches poll that was released last month. The Tritons, who finished ninth in the conference last season at 7-15, received 21 points in the poll, 10 behind 10th place Cal State Monterey Bay. Defending national champion Cal Poly Pomona was picked to win the 2010-11 CCAA regular season title, receiving 10 first place votes and a total of 120 points. Cal State Dominguez Hills collected 100 points and earned one first place vote to finish second, while Cal State San Bernardino was third after garnering 98 points. Humboldt State, which earned the remaining first place vote, tallied 95 points to finish fourth, followed by Chico State (85), Sonoma State (69), Cal State Stanislaus (58), San Francisco State (52), Cal State L.A. (51), and Cal State Monterey Bay (31) coming in fifth through 10th, respectively. Cal State East Bay, which is not eligible for the conference title, finished 12th with 12 points.

Quick Hits
After shooting a season-high 52.5% (21-40) from the field in the 77-59 win over Simon Fraser on November 27, UCSD shot 44% (24-54) and 41% (15-37) against Cal State Monterey Bay and San Francisco State, respectively... The 15 field goals in the loss to the Gators was a season-low... The Tritons have converted just 5-of-22 three-point attempts in their last four games, 23%... They hit 17-of-44 in their first four games of the season, 39%... UCSD's defense currently ranks fifth in the CCAA holding the opposition to just 62.2 points per game...The Tritons are putting up 66.2 points offensively, which ranks 10th... Following this week's matchups with Cal State East Bay and Humboldt State, UCSD will return to the court when Sonoma State comes to town on December 30... Tipoff is slated for approximately 7:30 p.m. at RIMAC Arena... The Tritons will play seven of their next 10 games at home.

 

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