UC San Diego will resume its coronavirus-interrupted men’s basketball season Saturday by playing host to UC Irvine at RIMAC Arena, one day after a game between the two teams was postponed because a Tritons’ player exhibited COVID-19-like symptoms.
A tweet at 9:42 a.m. from the team’s account read “GAME ON!”
The university announced Friday the status the game would be determined pending follow-up testing. The postponement was made “out of an abundance of caution” and followed consultation with medical officials, school officials said. The player was not identified.
The game will be UC San Diego’s first since Dec. 23 following cancellations of four Big West Conference games, a planned nonconference game to replace a canceled conference game and Friday’s postponement.
This will be the Tritons’ (2-0) first game against a Division I opponent this season. They defeated Saint Katherine University — an NAIA team – – 77-51 on Dec. 22 and 75-39 on Dec. 23.
UC San Diego’s Jan. 1 and Jan. 2 Big West Conference games at Cal Poly were canceled due to a positive coronavirus test involving the Mustangs’ program.
The Tritons then scheduled a nonconference game for Jan. 2 against Santa Clara in Ontario, but it was canceled due to COVID-19 contact tracing protocol within the Broncos’ program.
UC San Diego was to play host to Cal State Northridge on Friday and Saturday at RIMAC Arena in Big West Conference games, but those games were canceled due to a positive COVID-19 test involving the Matadors’ program.
The Tritons announced Wednesday they would play fellow Big West Conference member UC Irvine in nonconference games Friday and Saturday at RIMAC Arena.
The Anteaters (5-4) were available to play because their scheduled conference games those dates against UC Davis were canceled due to the Aggies’ compliance with Yolo County health orders.
UC San Diego was initially scheduled to open the season Nov. 10 by playing host to California. That plan was scrapped Aug. 11 when the Pac-12 Conference decided it would postpone its basketball season until at least January.
The conference later decided that its men’s basketball season would start Nov. 25 with the rest of Division I.
The Tritons were then scheduled to begin their season against San Diego Christian College on Dec. 20, but the game was canceled due to coronavirus testing concerns involving the Hawks.
After 20 seasons in NCAA Division II, UC San Diego’s entire athletics program has begun a four-year transition to NCAA Division I, culminating in full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference for the 2024-25 academic year. At that time, all sports will be eligible for conference and NCAA postseason play.
The Tritons are scheduled to play a Big West Conference schedule this season. However, they are not eligible to compete in Big West or NCAA postseason events and will not be included in the conference standings.
Updated at 2:45 p.m. Jan. 9, 2021
–City News Service