Photo by: Jimmy Gekas/Sideline Studios
Christian Hatch and the Tritons will look to get even with the Coyotes after losing the first meeting of the year in double overtime on November 22.
UCSD Takes on Cal State San Bernardino Looking for First League Win
Release: Thursday 12/15/2011 
The Schedule
Game No. 10
UC San Diego Tritons (4-4, 0-3) at Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes (4-0*, 3-0)
Monday, December 19, 2011 • 7:30 p.m.
Coussoulis Arena (5,000) • San Bernardino, Calif.
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*Note: The Coyotes play on Friday and Saturday before facing UCSD on Monday.

First Things First
After registering an 81-67 nonconference victory over Dixie State on Sunday, the UC San Diego men’s basketball team will resume California Collegiate Athletic Association play at Cal State San Bernardino in its final game before the holidays. The Tritons will wrap up their season series with the Coyotes on Monday at 7:30 p.m., looking to get even after dropping a 66-63 double overtime decision to CSUSB on Nov. 22 at RIMAC. Monday’s clash will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1700 in San Diego with Craig Elsten calling the action live from Coussoulis Arena in San Bernardino.  

On the Record
UCSD enters Monday’s game with an overall record of 4-4 after knocking off Dixie State last week. The Tritons picked up a much needed win following three straight losses in CCAA play from Nov. 22 to Dec. 3 and wrapped up their nonconference slate with a record of 4-1. UCSD, which currently sits at the bottom of the CCAA standings at 0-3, will look to capture its first league win on the road against rival Cal State San Bernardino on Monday. Head coach Chris Carlson’s squad is 3-3 away from home so far this season, going 1-2 in true road games and 2-1 in neutral site contests.

Offense Finds Stride in Win Over Dixie State
After averaging just 52.3 points on 36% shooting during its three-game losing streak, UCSD regained its form in the 14-point win over Dixie State on Sunday. The Tritons shot just under 53% from the field and put up 81 points, which was their highest output since they scored 102 in a rout of Chestnut Hill College on Nov. 4 to open the season. UCSD also shot the ball well from the three-point line, dropping 8-of-15 from behind the arc, 53%, and finished with 20 assists on their 28 field goals. The Tritons built an early 15-point lead and led by as many as 25 on the way to their first home win of 2011-12.  

When We Score, We Win
While playing well offensively seems like a pretty obvious requirement on the basketball court, it has been an absolutely critical element to the Tritons’ success so far this season. To illustrate that point, lets consider the difference in the numbers in UCSD’s wins and losses. In their four wins, the Tritons are averaging 85.2 points on 55% shooting from the field. In their four losses? Just 56.2 points on 38% shooting. After relying heavily on defense the last couple of seasons, this year’s squad has the ability to put up points and when they do, they have come out on top. For the season, UCSD is currently averaging 70.8 points on 46% shooting, figures that rank seventh and sixth in the CCAA respectively.  

Long December
While December is a crazy month for most people, that’s certainly not the case for the Tritons from a schedule standpoint. UCSD is currently navigating slowest part of its schedule, playing just twice in a span of 25 days. The Tritons had seven days off between games when they took the court against Dixie State and they will have had another full week off when they suit up to face Cal State San Bernardino on Monday. UCSD will then have even more time off following that matchup, with its next game not scheduled until Dec. 29. With final exams falling in the beginning of the month and the holidays towards the end, December is very sleepy month for UCSD schedule-wise.

UCSD Probable Starters - Notes
G - James McCann • So., 5-11, 165 - Finished with nine points and four assists in win over Dixie State.
G - Tyler McGrath • Jr., 6-3, 175 - Has at least one three-pointer in seven out of eight games this season.
F - Justin Brue • Sr., 6-5, 215 - Averaging 9.5 points and 6.4 rebounds.
F - Ryan Peters • Jr., 6-4, 200 - Tallied nine points and a season-high three assists against the Red Storm.
C - Christian Hatch • Sr., 6-8, 260 - UCSD’s leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 15.4 points and 8.0 boards.

Leading Man
Senior center Christian Hatch has put together a great start to the season, averaging team-highs of 15.4 points and 8.0 rebounds through eight games. The Henderson, Nev. native is shooting 51% (43-85) from the field and has led the Tritons in scoring five times in 2011-12. After averaging just 7.0 points on 38% shooting during UCSD’s three-game losing streak, Hatch bounced back in a big way against Dixie State on Sunday, finishing with game-highs of 19 points and seven rebounds in just 24 minutes. He went 7-for-12 from the floor and sank 5-of-6 at the free throw line, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half to help the Tritons put the game away. Hatch has scored in double figures six times this season and has two performances of 20 or more.

Be Like Mike
Senior forward Mike Meza had a strong performance on Sunday, scoring 16 points in 24 minutes off the bench to help the Tritons take down Dixie State. He finished an efficient 5-of-8 from the floor and hit 3-of-4 from the three-point line en route to his second-highest scoring effort of the season. The Simi Valley native scored 11 of his 16 points in the first half to stake the Tritons to a 39-26 advantage at the break. He was named the Male Athlete of the Week on Monday for his performance. For the season, Meza is averaging 9.0 points and 2.1 rebounds in 17.4 minutes per game. He is shooting a team-high 57% (20-35) from the field and 65% (13-20) from downtown.

Coyote Season
Cal State San Bernardino currently owns an overall record of 4-0 and a 3-0 mark in CCAA play through its first four games… The Coyotes defeated Cal State L.A. (61-48) and Cal State Dominguez Hills (63-61) on Dec. 2 and 3, but haven’t played since… They will face Dixie State and Grand Canyon on Friday and Saturday in Phoenix before returning home to host UCSD, however… Senior forward Theron Laudermill is averaging a team-high 14.8 points to go 8.8 rebounds, while junior forward Kwame Alexander is putting up 10.0 points and leads the team in rebounding, grabbing 9.3 boards per night… CSUSB is averaging 65.0 points per game as a team, while the defense is allowing just 59.5 on the other end.  

Last Time vs. CSUSB
UCSD trails the all-time series with Cal State San Bernardino 26-15 after losing a 66-63 decision to the Coyotes in double overtime in the first meeting of the year on Nov. 22. Tyler McGrath scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Tritons, who led 63-59 with 2:20 left in the second OT period before the Coyotes scored the final seven points to escape with the win. Christian Hatch recorded a double-double with 11 points and a career-high 15 rebounds and Justin Brue and Ryan Peters finished with 10 points apiece, but it wasn’t enough as UCSD shot just 35% (24-69) from the field. Tre’ Brewer scored 15 points to pace CSUSB, which shot at a 41% (26-64) clip for the game.  

Quick Hits
UCSD has lost its previous five matchups with Cal State San Bernardino dating back to the 2008-09 season… The Tritons’ last win over the Coyotes came on Feb. 14, 2009 in La Jolla… UCSD currently ranks sixth in the CCAA in terms of scoring defense, holding opponents to 67.0 points through eight games… As a team the Tritons are shooting 39.4% from the three-point line this season, which ranks third in the conference behind only Cal State Stanislaus (.412) and San Francisco State (.405)… After Monday’s matchup at Cal State San Bernardino, UCSD will take nine days off over Christmas before coming home to host San Francisco State and Cal Poly Pomona on Dec. 29-30… The Tritons will play six of their next eight games at home beginning with the matchup against the Gators.   

UCSD Games to Air on ESPN 1700 In 2011-12

The UC San Diego Athletics Department last month 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 during UCSD's online broadcasts, 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. Click here for more on UCSD's agreement with ESPN 1700.

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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