UC Santa Barbara (15-6) at Long Beach State (10-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 13, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Pyramid (5,000) -- Long Beach, California. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Santa Barbara 7-2, Long Beach State 6-3. Away Record: Santa Barbara 6-4, Long Beach State 4-7. Neutral Record: Santa Barbara 2-0, Long Beach State 0-3. Conference Record: Santa Barbara 6-2, Long Beach State 6-3. Series Record: Long Beach State leads, 61-56.
GAME NOTES: The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos will look to extend a three-game winning streak as they travel to face the Long Beach State 49ers in a Big West Conference clash at the Walter Pyramid.
UC Santa Barbara has won three in a row and four of its last six games en route to a 6-2 conference mark, which is good for second in the Big West for the time being. The Gauchos are coming off a 75-64 victory over Hawaii on Friday.
Long Beach State struggled mightily to open the season, losing nine consecutive games against strong non-conference opposition. But since opening up their Big West schedule, the 49ers have found their rhythm again. They've won five of their last six games, including an 88-76 victory over UC Riverside Saturday.
Long Beach State holds the all-time series lead over UC Santa Barbara, 61-56. The 49ers, however, dropped an earlier decision to the Gauchos, 64-51, at Santa Barbara back on Jan. 16 of this season.
Hawaii jumped ahead of UCSB in the Gauchos' last outing, 37-34, at the end of the first half. But Santa Barbara used a strong defensive effort and solid scoring in the second half to fuel a comeback on the road and snatch another conference victory. Alan Williams continued his dominant season, netting 20 points, grabbing 17 rebounds and blocking five shots in the win. Michael Bryson netted 18 points, Taran Brown scored 13 and Zalmico Harmon chipped in 10 for UCSB.
Williams can be found atop the Gauchos' scoring list this season with a 23.1 ppg average on 55.7 percent shooting from the floor. His 11.4 rpg is a team best, as are his 1.3 spg and 2.4 bpg averages. Kyle Boswell is second to Williams in scoring with 11.3 ppg, and Bryson is third at 10.8 ppg. Harmon leads the team with an impressive 5.1 apg average.
Long Beach State opened up a quick 31-20 lead against UC Riverside, connecting on 11 of the team's first 12 shots in the contest. The 49ers took a 58-48 lead into the intermission, and coasted to victory thanks to solid defense in the second half. Tyler Lamb scored 23 points to pace the 49ers in the win, while A.J. Spencer netted 17 and Travis Hammonds chipped in 13. Branford Jones contributed 11 points as well.
Mike Caffey, who scored nine points in the win over UC Riverside, is the team leader in scoring this season, netting 16.7 ppg on 41.3 percent shooting from the floor. Lamb has only played in 13 games for the 49ers, but has been great lately, and is averaging 15.5 ppg in those 13 games played. Dan Jennings leads the team in rebounding at 8.1 rpg, and Caffey tops the squad at 4.3 apg.
This showdown is between two six-win teams in the Big West, and both are adept at scoring and have solid playmakers and leaders. Long Beach State is going to have a hard time on the road, but with Williams' dominant play underneath, the Gauchos should never be counted out.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Santa Barbara 79, Long Beach State 75
02/13 10:19:13 ET