With the regular season well under way, the UCSD men’s basketball team will travel to Northern California this weekend to play in back-to-back California Collegiate Athletic Association matchups against Cal State Monterey Bay and Cal State East Bay. The games will also be CCAA openers for both opposing home teams.
The Tritons first take their 3–1 record (1–0 conference) to Monterey Bay on Friday, Dec. 5, where the Otters are 3–2 in non-conference play so far this season. Monterey Bay is predicted to finish in eighth at conference this year, just one spot ahead of the Tritons. UCSD split its pair of regular season matchups against Monterey Bay last year, easily defeating them at home but losing to them as visitors.
Junior forward Drew Dyer has been averaging a team-high of 14 points and 4.3 rebounds so far and looks to continue his stellar play. With injured players returning to the lineup for the Otters, one should expect a close game between the two teams. However, it should come as no surprise to see the Tritons spoil Monterey’s conference home opener. UCSD has had a relatively hot start, already upsetting perennial CCAA frontrunner No. 19 Cal Poly Pomona in the blue and gold’s first in-league matchup less than two weeks prior.
On Saturday, the Tritons will continue traveling north for a matchup against Cal State East Bay, who will come in to the contest with a 22 non-conference record. East Bay is predicted to finish second-to-last in the conference. UCSD easily handled CSU East Bay last year, sweeping the Pioneers in their two regular season matchups by double-digit point margins.
Junior guard Hunter Walker looks to relive his performance from last year against the Pioneers when he broke loose with 23 points, five rebounds and a pair of steals and blocks. Walker has been averaging 11.3 points, four rebounds and a team-high three assists in the young season while also leading the team in steals with six total. Although the game can end up being close, it should be an easy win for the Tritons.
The Tritons have started off the season on the right foot overall. UCSD is averaging 11.5 three- pointers per game on .447 shooting from beyond the arc, while players are doing a good job finding the open man, averaging 14.3 assists as a team. The Tritons are all also doing notably well crashing the glass, out-rebounding opponent teams by 1.7 rebounds per game even though no player is averaging over 4.3 rebounds per game.
Before finally returning to La Jolla for their home opener against Cal Poly Pomona, who is looking for redemption after its upset loss, the Tritons have one more game on the road against California Baptist University.
As for this weekend’s schedule, UCSD will battle against CSU Monterey Bay at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, while tip-off for the following day’s game against East Bay will be at 7:30 p.m. as well.