UC Santa Barbara (2-2) at Boise State (3-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Taco Bell Arena (12,380) -- Boise, Idaho. Television: None. Home Record: UCSB 2-0, Boise State 3-0. Away Record: UCSB 0-2, Boise State 0-1. Neutral Record: UCSB 0-0, Boise State 0-0. Conference Record: UCSB 0-0, Boise State 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 5-5.
GAME NOTES: After taking a loss in its first road game of the season, Boise State will try to recover at home when the Broncos host the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Taco Bell Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The Gauchos have begun to turn around their season after opening up with a pair of double-digit losses in game one and two. Since then UCSB has evened its record at 2-2 with wins over Master's College (680-60) and San Diego (57-39). Both of those wins came at home with the two losses on the road. UCSB will return home in its next game against Wyoming.
A trip to East Lansing proved costly for Boise State on Tuesday as the Broncos were topped 74-70 by Michigan State. Before that the Broncos played three straight home games and brought in victories in each one, although only one was by more than 10 points. It will be a quick turnaround for the Broncos after this with their next three games on the road beginning on Wednesday against Creighton.
Boise State evened up the all-time series between these squads with a buzzer- beating win (78-76) during the Bracket Busters weekend in February of 2011. The all-time series is split 5-5.
UC Santa Barbara shot a solid 46.0 percent from the floor against San Diego but where its most impressive effort came was on defense. The Gauchos limited the Toreros to just 13 field goals and a 24.5 field goal percentage in the game as a whole in limiting them to just 39 points. Taran Brown and Allan Williams both got into double figures with 17 and 12 points respectively.
The kind of defensive showing the Gauchos had against San Diego was a bit out of the ordinary, at least based on early returns this season. The Gauchos are surrendering 69.0 points per game on the season and have twice been gashed for more than 75 points including a 100-point showing against Illinois State. On the other side the Gauchos are scoring a decent 68.0 points per game while shooting 42.6 percent from the field. Brown and Williams are the only two players on the team scoring in double figures. Brown (15.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.2 apg) is the lead scorer on the roster and has also been a strong rebounder and distributor. Williams (14.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg) has been just behind Brown in scoring and is a threat to post a double-double every night. Williams is also a staunch defender that protects the paint well with 3.5 blocks per game. Kyle Boswell (8.2 ppg) is the only other player for the Gauchos scoring more than seven points a game.
Boise State hung right with Michigan State and lead well into the first half before the Spartans took a 27-24 lead with a little more than five minutes in the first period. From there the Broncos never led again but never trailed by more than nine points. The Broncos shot at a 42.0 percent clip in the game and were the benefactors of a 23-16 edge in points from the free throw line. Those points were needed as Michigan State was allowed to shoot 57.8 percent from the field. Derrick Marks powered the offense with 24 points, 11 of which came from the free throw line.
The Broncos are a team that can score, as they average 75.5 points per game while shooting 44.3 percent from the floor. Marks is a major reason for that as he is putting 18.0 points per game while shooting just 40.0 percent from the field. Marks has also contributed in a number of other ways, dishing out a team-high 3.8 assists per game while bringing in 4.5 rebounds. Anthony Drmic (13.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg) is the only other player on the roster that is scoring in double digits although six different players, including Marks and Drmic, score eight or more points per game. Mikey Thompson (9.2 ppg) provides offensive spark off the bench while Ryan Watkins (9.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Jeff Elorriaga (8.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg) provide scoring and rebounding help out of the starting lineup.
The road woes of the Gauchos are well documented this season. It won't get any easier against a Boise State squad that has been lights out at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boise State 76, UC Santa Barbara 63
11/24 10:31:29 ET