Game No. 18
UC San Diego Tritons (7-10, 3-9) at Cal Poly Pomona Broncos (11-4, 8-4)
Thursday, January 26, 2012 • 7:30 p.m.
Kellogg Gym (5,000) • Pomona, Calif.
Game No. 19
UC San Diego Tritons at San Francisco State Gators
Saturday, January 28, 2012 • 7:30 p.m.
The Swamp (2,000) • San Francisco, Calif.
First Things First
After going 1-1 against Sonoma State and Humboldt State over the weekend, the UC San Diego men's basketball team will open the second half of its California Collegiate Athletic Association slate on the road this week. UCSD will face Cal Poly Pomona on Thursday evening in Pomona, before traveling to the City by the Bay for a date with San Francisco State on Saturday. Both games will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. or immediately following the women's contests. Thursday's tilt with Pomona will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1700 in San Diego, with Craig Elsten calling the action from Kellogg Gym.
On the Record
UCSD heads to Pomona with an overall record of 7-10 and a 3-9 mark in CCAA play after splitting two home games last week. The Tritons held off a furious Sonoma State rally for a 63-62 win over the Seawolves on Friday, before seeing their own comeback bid fall short in a 65-64 setback to surging Humboldt State on Saturday. UCSD, which went 2-2 on a four-game home stand the last two weeks, currently sits in 10th place in the conference standings with 10 games remaining. The Tritons are currently 2.5 games behind ninth place Cal State East Bay, which enters play this week at 5-6 in CCAA play.
After allowing a season-high 80 points in a loss to Cal State East Bay on Jan. 13, the Tritons have played much better defense since, holding their last three opponents to an average of 64.7 points on 45% shooting. UCSD limited Sonoma State to just 62 points en route to a one-point victory on Friday and then surrendered just 65 in a loss to Humboldt State the following night. For the season, UCSD is allowing an average of 67.1 points per game, which ranks sixth in the CCAA. Triton opponents are shooting just over 42% from the floor, a figure that ranks seventh.
Too Close For Comfort
The Tritons have played in a lot of close games lately, with their previous four games being decided by four points or less. Three of those were decided by a single point -- including last week's decisions with Sonoma State and Humboldt State -- and UCSD went 1-2 in those contests. Overall, UCSD has been relatively successful in close games this season, going 3-3 in games decided by five points or less. If the Tritons can find a way to win all the close ones, they will be in great shape going forward.
Time to Get a Roadie (or Two)
If the Tritons are going to get back in the hunt for a CCAA playoff berth, they are going to need to find a way to win on the road. UCSD is just 3-6 away from home this season, going 1-5 in true road games and 2-1 in neutral site contests. The Tritons defeated Academy of Art by a final margin of 80-66 on the road on Nov. 19, but haven't won away from home since, losing their last five. With six of their final 10 games coming on the road, now is a great time to get a streak going in the other direction.
UCSD Probable Starters - Notes
G - James McCann • So., 5-11, 165 - Scored in double figures in five of the last six games.
G - Tyler McGrath • Jr., 6-3, 175 - Sank a career-high five threes in loss to Humboldt State on Saturday.
F - Justin Brue • Jr., 6-5, 215 - Shot 47% (9-19) from the field against the Seawolves and Lumberjacks last week.
F - MacKenzie McCullough • So., 6-4, 195 - Averaging 6.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in two games as a starter.
C - Christian Hatch • Sr., 6-8, 260 - UCSD's leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 13.0 and 7.1.
Sophomore point guard has been playing his best basketball of the season the last few weeks, averaging 15.3 points and 5.2 assists over the Tritons' last six games. He scored a career-high 22 points, while also tallying four rebounds and seven assists in UCSD's overtime loss to Cal State East Bay on Jan. 13 and finished with 19 points after hitting 4-of-5 from the three-point line in a win over Cal State Monterey Bay the following evening. The Carlsbad native had a big hand in the Tritons' 63-62 triumph over Sonoma State on Friday, finishing a game-high 18 points, two rebounds, three assists and a block in 31 minutes. He finished 6-of-13 from the floor and hit 2-of-4 from behind the arc. For the season, McCann is averaging 10.5 points and a team-high 3.9 assists. He is shooting 39% from the field and 34% from downtown.
Just Brue It
Junior forward has also been playing well of late, averaging 15.3 points and 6.8 rebounds during UCSD's four-game home stand. He shot 60% over that span, converting 21 of his 35 attempts from the field. Brue had a solid performance in the Tritons' victory over Sonoma State last week, finishing with 13 points on 3-of-8 shooting to go with a game-high seven boards. For the season, Brue is averaging 10.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in over 28 minutes per game. The Hayward native is shooting just under 48% from the floor and has scored in double figures in five straight games after doing so just four times in the previous 12 games.
Scouting the Broncos
Cal Poly Pomona enters Thursday's matchup with an overall record of 11-4 and an 8-4 mark in CCAA play after splitting a pair of road games last week... The Broncos dropped a 64-59 decision to Cal State Dominguez Hills on Friday, but bounced back with a 59-49 win over Cal State L.A. the following evening... CPP has won two of its last three overall... Junior guard Mitchel Anderson is Pomona's leading scorer at 13.2 points per game, while also grabbing 5.1 rebounds per night... The Broncos currently rank 10th in the CCAA averaging 66.4 points per game offensively, while the defense has played much better, allowing just 57.4, which ranks second... UCSD trails the all-time series with Cal Poly Pomona 20-8 after the Broncos claimed the first meeting of the year, 66-52, on Dec. 30 at RIMAC Arena.
Scouting the Gators
San Francisco State State has an overall record of 4-14 and a 2-10 tally in conference play after falling to both Cal State L.A. (82-71) and Cal State Dominguez (60-55) last week... The Gators have lost five straight and nine of 11 overall... Junior guard Nefi Perdomo is averaging team-highs of 15.7 points and 3.8 assists, while junior forward James Albright is putting up 12.4 points and hauling down 4.6 rebounds... SFSU ranks seventh in the CCAA in scoring offense at 68.2 points per game, while the defense ranks 11th, surrendering 76.4... UCSD holds a 14-10 edge in the all-time series with San Francisco State after claiming a 72-50 victory over the Gators earlier this season... scored a career-high 19 points and finished with 12 as the Tritons picked up their first league win.
UCSD currently ranks eighth in the CCAA in scoring offense, averaging 68.1 points per game... The Tritons rank fifth in field goal percentage (.441) and second in both free throw percentage (.746) and three-point percentage (.375)... UCSD hit 9-of-22 from behind the arc in the 65-64 loss to Humboldt State on Saturday, two shy of its season-high... Four of the Tritons' five starters are averaging double figures in 2011-12... , , and have accounted for 64% of UCSD's scoring this season... After squaring off with Cal Poly Pomona and San Francisco State on the road this week, UCSD will come home for four straight beginning on Feb. 3 against Cal State L.A.
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.