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Sacramento State (12-12) at UC Santa Barbara (8-17)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 10 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: The Thunderdome (5,600) -- Santa Barbara, California. Television: None. Home Record: Sacramento State 9-3, UCSB 6-5. Away Record: Sacramento State 3-9, UCSB 2-12. Neutral Record: Sacramento State 0-0, UCSB 0-0. Conference Record: Sacramento State 7-9, UCSB 4-10. Series Record: UCSB leads, 4-0.

GAMES NOTES: The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos take a break from Big West Conference play for a non-conference tilt against the Sacramento State Hornets as part of BracketBusters weekend at the Thunderdome on Saturday night.

This contest wraps up a three-game road trip for the Hornets who took defeats to North Dakota and Northern Colorado in the first two battles. The recent slide has the Hornets at an even 12-12 overall, while pushing them below .500 (7-9) in league play. Sacramento State has a stern league test against Weber State next on the schedule.

The Gauchos have bottomed out over the last month with losses in seven of their last eight outings, including a 54-45 loss to UC Riverside on Wednesday. UCSB is now just 8-17 overall while owning a 4-7 mark against non-conference foes. Next up for UCSB is a trek out to face Hawaii in the first half of a two-game road trip.

These teams have not met on the hardwood since the 1992-93 season when UCSB earned a 64-57 victory on the road. The Gauchos have won all four contests all-time between these squads.

A sluggish start for Sacramento State doomed it against Northern Colorado. The Hornets shot just 40 percent and had 10 field goals in the first period and trailed 45-27 at the break. The Hornets allowed the Bears to shoot 50.8 percent from the floor in the contest.

Four different players are scoring in double figures for the Hornets led by John Dickson (13.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg) who is also one of the better rebounders on the roster. Mikh McKinney (13.0 ppg) is second on the scorers list while running in the backcourt with Dylan Garrity (11.7 ppg, 5.2 apg) who leads the Big Sky in assists. Konner Veteto (10.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg) teams with Dickson in the frontcourt where he finishes off 51.1 percent of his field-goal attempts. Joe Eberhard (7.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, .379 FG percentage) just hasn't shot well enough to produce at a higher level on offense.

In a 54-45 loss to UC Riverside, the Gauchos really struggled to find a rhythm on the offensive end of the floor. The Gauchos recorded just 14 field goals in the game on 25.9 percent shooting. UCSB had 11 fewer attempts from the free- throw line as well in the contest as it wasted a 15-point, 12-rebound double- double from Alan Williams.

The Gauchos have lost some punch on the offensive end recently with Kyle Boswell (12.6 ppg) suffering a shoulder injury. The 6-foot-2 guard had failed to score in double figures in two straight games before missing the contest with UC Riverside entirely. Boswell is still listed as questionable in this contest. His absence puts increased pressure on Williams (17.4 ppg, 10.3 ppg, 2.1 bpg) who has been one of the best performers in the Big West, as the only player averaging a double-double on the season. Taran Brown (11.7 ppg) has struggled with consistency, shooting just 36.9 percent from the floor.

Without Boswell the Gauchos become too much of a one-dimensional offense, relying on Williams even more. The Hornets have more balance which should make this one a tightly contested affair.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Santa Barbara 71, Sacramento State 69

02/23 10:46:43 ET

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