GAME NOTES: The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos will attempt to leapfrog the Cal State Northridge Matadors in the Big West Conference standings as the two conference rivals clash at the Matadome.
Santa Barbara has won four of its last five games, including a most recent win Thursday over Long Beach State - the Gauchos' first Big West victory of the season.
The Matadors are coming off a 62-52 loss to Cal Poly, which was their first in Big West action this season. They'll try to rebound at home versus the Gauchos.
Santa Barbara leads the all-time series by a hefty margin, 32-16. These two programs will meet head-to-head again this season on Feb. 15.
Santa Barbara turned in one of its best defensive efforts of the season Thursday night, as the Gauchos limited Long Beach State to a mere 29.9 percent shooting from the floor in the contest. Michael Bryson netted a team- high 13 points for UCSB, while Alan Williams chipped in 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the double-double. Mitch Brewe also scored 12 points in the victory. Santa Barbara shot 50.9 percent from the field.
Williams paces the Gauchos in scoring this season with an eye-popping 23.3 ppg on 56.5 percent shooting from the floor. Williams has played in two fewer games than some of his teammates this season, but that hasn't stopped him from recording a team-high in blocked shots with 32. Kyle Boswell is second on the roster in scoring with 11.7 ppg, hitting 46.9 percent of his 3-point attempts. Zalmico Harmon leads the team with 81 assists on the year.
It wasn't a pretty game for Cal State Northridge against Cal Poly, as the Matadors hit just 34.9 percent of their shots from the floor in the loss. Stephan Hicks netted a team-high 16 points for Northridge, grabbing five rebounds in the process. Tre Hale-Edmerson chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds, while Josh Greene added 10 points in the loss. The Matadors were 0- of-8 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc in the game.
Hicks and Stephen Maxwell are tied atop the team leader board in scoring, each netting 17 ppg and each shooting over 50 percent from the floor. Hicks nets 53,5 percent of his shots, while Maxwell is shooting an incredible 61.2 percent from the field. Greene is the third player averaging scoring numbers in the double digits with 14.9 ppg. Maxwell tops the team in rebounding at 8.3 rpg.
It's hard to imagine Cal State Northridge coming away victorious if the team plays like it did Thursday. As long as UC Santa Barbara gets its regular contribution from its scorers, the Gauchos should have the upper hand.
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