Men’s Basketball Struggles Shooting the Long Ball in Season-Opening Loss

On Monday, Nov. 7, UC San Diego men’s basketball (0–1, 0–0 Big West) hosted Seattle University (2–0, 0–0 Western Athletic Conference) for the home opener of the 2022-23 season. After finishing below .500 last year, the Tritons entered Monday night’s game looking to start their season on the right foot by winning on their home turf, while the Redhawks looked to sustain their strong play from the prior season.

The Tritons, unfortunately, found themselves down double figures early, as the Redhawks opened the game firing on all cylinders on the offensive end, largely due to the play of their star guard, who went 4–5 from the 3-point range within the first four minutes of the contest. Having to claw their way back, UCSD spent most of the first half trying to shrink their deficit and position themselves for a chance to enter halftime with the game still in reach. After falling behind by 13 points, UCSD’s offense found some life with scoring contributions from redshirt junior center Emmanuel Tshimanga, redshirt junior guard Bryce Pope, and freshman guard Roddie Anderson III. However, despite battling back and cutting SU’s lead to 4 with under three minutes left in the first half, the Redhawks quickly retaliated by going on a 9–0 run and brought their lead back up to 13, ending the half at a score of 42–29. 

Within the first two minutes of the second half, the Redhawks extended their lead to 16 (their largest of the game) by a field goal by their starting forward. UCSD put a stop to their offensive dry spell with more scoring contributions from Tshimanga, as he made the first three field goals of the half for his team and cut the deficit to 11 with 17:08 remaining in regulation. The Tritons had a lot of fresh new faces, including senior forward J’Raan Brooks, who made his Triton debut after sitting out last season due to injury. Although the Tritons were able to shrink their deficit to single digits at a point, the story of the second half was the hot shooting from 3-point range on the part of the Redhawks. UCSD did receive a solid performance from their guard Bryce Pope, who had 15 points in the second half, and although the Tritons were only outscored by 1 point in the second half, they lost the game by a score of 85–71. 

The most telling statistic of the game was the difference in the quality of 3-point shooting, with the Tritons making only a quarter of their 3-point shot attempts at 5–20, and the Redhawks shooting above 40% from deep at 14–34. Another area that the Tritons hope to clean up moving forward is their effort on the boards, as they were outscored 19–7 on 2nd chance points. Cameron Tyson for the Redhawks was the player of the game, as he shot 12–18 from the field, including 7–12 from beyond the arc, and led all scores with 35 points while also leading both teams in rebounding with 8. Pope led UCSD in scoring with 23 points, shooting 50% from the field and going a perfect 4–4 from the line. Despite being outshot by a significant margin from three, several positives that UCSD was able to take away from the game include having four players scoring in double figures and outshooting SU at the free throw line by making over 75% of their free throw attempts. 

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, the Tritons will host the California Golden Bears at 7 p.m. and the first 1,500 students in attendance will have a chance to receive a free replica jersey.

Image Courtesy of Rishi Yalamarty of UCSD Athletics

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