Cal State Northridge (12-14) at UC Santa Barbara (16-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Thunderdome (6,000) -- Santa Barbara, California. Television: None. Home Record: CSUN 9-3, UCSB 7-2. Away Record: CSUN 1-11, UCSB 7-4. Neutral Record: CSUN 2-0, UCSB 2-0. Conference Record: CSUN 4-7, UCSB 7-2. Series Record: UC Santa Barbara leads, 33-16.
GAME NOTES: The top team in the Big West Conference is back on the floor today, as the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos entertain the Cal State Northridge Matadors at the Thunderdome.
UCSB was in action just two nights ago against Long Beach State on the road and managed to pull out a narrow 65-64 win in order to move to 7-2 in conference play. The victory was the fourth in a row and the seventh in the last eight outings for the program.
Meanwhile, the Matadors find themselves in the bottom half of the Big West standings with four wins in 11 chances, after falling to Cal Poly on Thursday, 62-55. The scoring output for CSUN, which has dropped three of the last four, was somewhat surprising given that the team had tallied at least 86 points in three of the previous four contests.
UCSB won the first meeting of the season between the programs last month on the road in a 79-69 final, which means the all-time series now stands at 33-16 in favor of the Gauchos.
Except for Landon Drew who missed all eight of his field goal chances and was held scoreless in 22 minutes of action, every starter for the Matadors landed in double figures during the loss to Cal Poly at home. Stephen Maxwell posted 18 points and seven rebounds, Stephan Hicks 12 points, and both Josh Greene and Tre Hale-Edmerson had 10 points apiece, the latter also clearing a team- best 10 rebounds and blocking four shots.
Shooting 57.2 percent from the floor through 26 games, Maxwell leads the team in scoring with 17.4 ppg, followed by Hicks with another 16.8 ppg as he makes good on another 52.5 percent from the field as well. Greene checks in with 15.2 ppg, his 40.5 percent effort actually lower than his 42.5 percent beyond the arc these days. As a team, CSUN is posting 74.4 ppg, but at the same tim it is giving up 75.8 ppg.
Having rung up 16 wins so far this season, surely the Gauchos have come by those victories in a variety of ways and, on Thursday night they used a put- back at the buzzer by Michael Bryson to come out on top against Long Beach State at the Walter Pyramid. Bryson finished with 15 points, just one behind Alan Williams who dropped in 16 and pulled down eight rebounds to tie for the team lead. Off the bench, UCSB was sparked by Eric Childress and Kyle Boswell with 11 points apiece.
While Bryson (11.0 ppg) played the hero for the Gauchos the last time out, the clear-cut leader for the program is Williams with not only 22.8 ppg (one of the top averages in the nation), but also 11.2 rpg which places him among a select few in the country who are averaging a double-double currently. Boswell, primarily a reserve, accounts for another 11.3 ppg as a successful 45.1 percent shooter behind the 3-point line.
An awful team on the road this season with just one win in 12 tries, almost everything would have to go right for the Matadors today to have a fighting chance against the top team in the conference.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Santa Barbara 76, Cal State Northridge 65
02/15 10:29:07 ET