TRITONS HANG WITH PITT BUT FALL LATE
In exhibition play last Friday at Pitt, UCSD had the game tied with 7:46 remaining and trailed by just two points at 4:26, but the Panthers turned up the heat late and came away with a 72-59 win at Petersen Events Center. James McCann and MacKenzie McCullough each totaled 13 points for the Tritons, with McCann tacking on five rebounds and five assists. Drew Dyer had a team-high seven boards as UCSD was out-rebounded by just four, 33-29. The Tritons hit 10 three-pointers in the game, three of those coming from Aleks Lipovic. Pitt's Talib Zanna recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, both game-highs. Lamar Patterson totaled 16 points, while James Robinson had 10 points, four boards and six assists. The Panthers, heading into their first season playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, were picked to finish sixth in the 15-team league, behind Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina, Virginia and Notre Dame.
CCAA PRESEASON POLL
The California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) released its annual preseason coaches poll this week and UC San Diego was picked to finish 11th in the league's regular season standings. Cal State San Bernardino garnered 115 points and six first-place votes to take the top spot. Cal Poly Pomona, last season's CCAA regular season champion, was just behind in second place with 112 points and the remaining six first-place votes. San Francisco State amassed 92 points to round out the league's top three. Chico State (91 points) was fourth, Cal State Dominguez Hills (86 points) fifth, Cal State L.A. (75 points) sixth, Sonoma State (60 points) seventh, Humboldt State (48 points) eighth, Cal State Stanislaus (40 points) ninth and Cal State East Bay (32 points) 10th. The Tritons, who finished seventh in the CCAA last year, totaled 24 points for 11th place. Cal State Monterey Bay (17 points) was 12th.
PROBABLE TRITON STARTERS (2012-13 stats listed)
G - #10 James McCann (Sr., 5-11/165): 26 GP, 30.8 MPG, 13.6 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 4.8 APG, 0.8 SPG
G - #15 Aleks Lipovic (RFr., 6-4/185): Redshirt
F - #23 Hunter Walker (So., 6-4/205): 23 GP, 14.7 MPG, 4.7 PPG, 1.1 RPG
F - #11 MacKenzie McCullough (Sr., 6-4/195): 24 GP, 16.0 MPG, 3.1 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.5 BPG
F - #14 Drew Dyer (So., 6-6/210): 26 GP, 25.8 MPG, 9.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.0 APG
WHO'S BACK, WHO'S NOT SNAPSHOT
UCSD returns a pair of starters from last season's team that advanced to the CCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. Senior James McCann, a 2012-13 All-CCAA Second Team pick, returns at the point guard position. McCann was second in the league in assists (4.8/game) and eighth in scoring (13.6 points/game). Sophomore forward Drew Dyer is also back after averaging 9.3 points and 5.2 rebounds a game as a freshman. UCSD's leading scorer and All-CCAA Second Team guard Tyler McGrath was lost to graduation. Among all league players, he was first in free throw percentage (.888), fourth in scoring (14.7 points/game) and fifth in three-pointers made (52). Forward Justin Brue also graduated after averaging a team-best 7.0 rebounds a game. He ranked sixth in the CCAA in boards and seventh in blocks (1.0/game). Guard Ryan Peters, who started all 26 games, graduated as well. For a complete breakdown of who's back and who isn't, click here.
HEAD COACH ERIC OLEN
Long-time UCSD assistant coach Eric Olen was named the program's 12th head coach on Oct. 1, 2013. Olen joined the Tritons as a second assistant for the 2004-05 season and was promoted to first assistant the next season. He was on the bench during the 2007-08 campaign when UCSD won its first CCAA Tournament title and earned its first berth in the NCAA Tournament. As a player at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., Olen helped the Badgers to three straight appearances in the NAIA National Tournament, including trips to the NAIA Elite Eight in 2000 and 2001.
LAST YEAR IN PRESEASON PLAY
UCSD opened its 2012-13 slate with an exhibition game at San Diego State, ranked 20th in NCAA Division I. The Tritons fell, 80-56, as the Aztecs made over 49 percent of their shots and scored 23 points off 15 UCSD turnovers. Drew Dyer led the Tritons with 13 points on 4-for-6 shooting. James McCann totaled 10 points, also making four of six shots. Brandon Blanchard and Justin Brue each totaled a game-high seven rebounds. For SDSU, Chase Tapley had 15 points and Jamaal Franklin dropped 13.
ABOUT THE ANTELOPES
Grand Canyon, new to NCAA Division I this season, was picked to finish eighth in the nine-team WAC according to the league's coaches. Senior guard Demetrius Walker was named a preseason All-WAC Second Team selection. The 'Lopes were predicted to finish ninth in the league's preseason media poll. GCU is one of six new teams in the WAC this year. The Antelopes welcome nine new players to the squad, three of which have Division I experience - Walker from New Mexico, Daniel Alexander from Texas A&M and Jeremy Adams from Colorado. First-year head coach Dan Majerle spent the previous five years as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns. Majerle played 14 seasons in the NBA, eight of those with Phoenix. Last season as a member of Division II, GCU finished with a 23-8 overall record and a 14-4 mark in the Pacific West Conference. The 'Lopes earned an at-large NCAA Tournament bid and fell to Seattle Pacific in the opening round.
ABOUT THE SERIES
UC San Diego is 7-12 all-time against Grand Canyon University. The two squads met last season on Nov. 17 in La Jolla. GCU, which was receiving votes in the national poll at the time, left with a 65-52 victory. The Tritons led 29-28 at the half, but were out-scored 37-23 in the second stanza. Tyler McGrath had a team-best 16 points for UCSD, while Justin Brue had 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Joshua Lowery led GCU with 17 points, Braylon Pickrel had 10 and Killian Larson had a team-high seven boards. The Tritons last defeated the Antelopes on Dec. 21, 2008, by a score of 78-60.
UCSD Athletics has partnered with Advanced-Online to provide a web-based, on-demand option for UCSD apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours. Visit the site at UCSDTritonsGear.com.
THE BIG PICTURE
We want to reward you for posting your creative photos showing Triton spirit. Tweet, Facebook or Instagram your pics and include our #TritonsRising hashtag. At the end of every month, we'll pick our favorite photos and dole out some swag to the winners!
Looking to the future, UCSD opens its regular season on Friday, Nov. 15, when they host Daemen College at RIMAC Arena at 7 p.m. Less than a week later, the Tritons kick off their CCAA campaign at league favorite Cal State San Bernardino on Thursday, Nov. 21, also at 7 p.m.