UC Santa Barbara (5-3) vs. Troy (4-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 19, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270) -- Logan, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: UCSB 3-1, Troy 4-0. Away Record: UCSB 2-2, Troy 0-4. Neutral Record: UCSB 0-0, Troy 0-0. Conference Record: UCSB 0-0, Troy 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Troy Trojans try to find their first win away from home tonight, as they challenge the Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara as part of the Basketball Travelers Classic hosted by Utah State at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan.
Troy has recorded four wins at home thus far, but has come up empty in just as many road games to open up the 2013-14 campaign. The latest outing for the Trojans took place on Sunday as they were leveled by Kansas State in Manhattan, 72-43.
Meanwhile the Gauchos, who are facing Troy for the first time ever, have logged two straight wins and three victories in the last four games overall as they prepare for this tourney. Also in action last weekend, UCSB dropped San Diego on the road, 72-61.
Both teams will be back in action over the next two days, as all four programs (Utah State and Western Illinois) face off against each other.
The Gauchos shot an impressive 52.4 percent from the floor and 6-of-12 behind the 3-point line in the first half against San Diego, but the team led by just four points at the break. In the second half, the team continued to shoot well from the floor (.545) and at the same time limited the Toreros to only 36.4 percent from the floor, en route to the victory. Michael Bryson led the way with 21 points, hitting 5-of-7 beyond the arc, followed by Kyle Boswell with 12 points off the bench. Alan Williams and Zalmico Harmon produced 11 points apiece, the former clearing seven rebounds and the latter handing out five assists.
Although he has missed two of the team's eight outings, Williams has been a beast in the paint for the Gauchos with his 24.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest. Williams is shooting an impressive 60.2 percent from the floor, but only 62.8 percent at the free-throw line, making him a liability on the floor late in games. Bryson, a 48.8 percent shooter behind the 3-point line, accounts for 12.8 ppg followed by Boswell with 11.0 ppg as he makes good on 44.9 percent of his attempts out on the perimeter.
Against Kansas State, the Trojans were held to a mere 36.2 percent shooting from the field, including 3-of-19 behind the 3-point line. Antoine Myers led the offense with 12 points, shooting 5-of-9 from the floor, while Wes Hinton came off the bench to pitch in with 10 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes of action. The team ended up with almost as many turnovers (16) as field goals (17) and while Troy generated just eight assists, KSU handed out assists on all but four baskets.
Myers, who has held at least a share of the scoring lead in each of the last four games, is responsible for 13.4 ppg to pace the group. Playing more than 35 minutes per contest, Myers is shooting 57.6 percent from the floor and is also tied for the team high with 28 assists. Kevin Thomas checks in with 12.3 ppg, hitting on 56.9 percent from the field, while also pulling down 8.8 rpg to pace the group in that category. Defensively, the Trojans are limiting opponents to only 40.1 percent from the field and 27.6 percent out on the perimeter.
As long as Williams can have his way in the paint tonight and for the rest of the weekend, expect to see the Gauchos enjoying their time in Utah.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Santa Barbara 74, Troy 59
12/19 11:18:24 ET