San Diego (3-2) at UC Santa Barbara (1-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 21, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UCSB Thunderdome (7,200) -- Santa Barbara, California. Television: None. Home Record: San Diego 3-2, UCSB 1-0. Away Record: San Diego 0-0, UCSB 0-2. Neutral Record: San Diego 0-0, UCSB 0-0. Conference Record: San Diego 0-0, UCSB 0-0. Series Record: UCSB leads 14-6.
GAME NOTES: The San Diego Toreros will begin a four-game road trip with a tilt against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in non-conference action at the UCSB Thunderdome.
The Toreros played host for the NUCDF Challenge this past weekend and came away with a split of the four games they played in as many days. The most recent decision was a 77-60 victory over Siena on the final day of the event which pushed San Diego's overall record to 3-2. The road trip will continue for the Toreros on Saturday against Montana.
UC Santa Barbara played its first two games on the road but were far from welcomed in the opposing venues. The Gauchos took double-digit losses to LSU (77-63) and Illinois State (100-72). UCSB then retread home where it got a boost of confidence with an 80-60 win over NAIA foe Master's College. The Gauchos are the road in three of their next four games beginning at Boise State.
History favors UCSB in this matchup as the Gauchos have won 14 of the previous 20 meetings. That includes a 65-61 victory in last season's matchup.
A 10-2 run in the first half by the Toreros pulled them away from Siena and gave them their first double digit lead. Siena would never get closer than six points the rest of the way, and trailed by double digits for the bulk of the second half, San Diego shot at an impressive 51.9 percent from the floor in the contest to overcome a 40-32 deficit on the boards. Johnny Dee lit it up from the floor in the game with 27 points, while hitting on 4-of-6 shots from beyond the arc.
The Toreros own a +7.8 scoring margin through the first five games by putting up 71.0 points per game while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor. Although he tends to keep his offense to the perimeter, Dee (16.4 ppg) is the lead scorer, while still managing to shoot well from the floor. The guard is shooting 47.4 percent from the floor while hitting 11-of-22 from beyond the arc. Chris Anderson (11.0 ppg, 5.4 apg) is another double figure scorer from the backcourt though his more vital contributions have come when he is running the point and passing the ball. Anderson is also disruptive on the defensive end of the floor collecting 2.6 steals a game. The Toreros are still in search of a replacement in the frontcourt for Chris Manresa (14.0 ppg) who has missed the last four games with a sore back and is listed as questionable on Wednesday.
UCSB connected on 10-of-27 shots from beyond the arc and ripped down 50 rebounds to control the glass against Master's College in the 20-point win. Having so many rebounds really benefited the Gauchos as they had 19 second chance points in the win as well. Both Taran Brown (20 points, 13 rebounds) and Alan Williams (17 points, 12 rebounds) had double-doubles.
Williams (15.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg) has been averaging a double-double effort already this year. He has posted at least 15 points and 12 rebounds in each of the last two games and is connecting on 45.7 percent of his shots from the floor. Williams is also getting it done on defense as he is blocking 3.0 shots per game. Brown, a 6-foot-8 forward provides even more scoring (15.0 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg) to the Gauchos' frontcourt while playing more minutes than any other player on the roster. Kyle Boswell (10.0 ppg) is a streaky shooter capable of big nights like his 17-point effort against LSU. Lewis Thomas (3.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg) is a starter that doesn't provide much in the way of scoring but has been more important on the boards.
Williams is off to a torrid start and will be tough for San Diego to deal with. If he can continue his streak of double-doubles and Boswell can hit on shots from beyond the arc in front of the home crowd look for the Gauchos to edge San Diego.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Santa Barbara 70, San Diego 65
11/21 10:37:23 ET