GAME NOTES: With a tournament trip to Utah on the horizon, the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos try to close out this week with a strong effort against the San Diego Toreros in non-conference action at Jenny Craig Pavilion.
UCSB has won two of the last three outings, the most recent of those victories coming against California by a score of 72-65 back on Dec. 6. With that home win over the Golden Bears, the Gauchos are now 3-1 in their own building, but what they need to be more concerned about at the moment is their 1-2 showing out on the road.
Meanwhile, San Diego is a team that kicked off the 2013-14 campaign with five straight wins and seven in the first eight outings, but the team then dropped back-to-back decisions to a couple of Mountain West Conference foes in New Mexico and San Diego State. However, five nights ago USD bounced back with a resounding 84-47 romp over Pacifica at home.
The series between these two teams traces back to 1964, with the Gauchos owning a 15-6 edge. UCSB has taken two straight, including a lopsided 57-39 affair last season.
California was held to just 36.1 percent shooting from the floor by the Gauchos as the hosts picked up the seven-point win in the Thunderdome the first week of December. Carrying the load for UCSB was Alan Williams who registered a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds, both of which were game highs, while Taran Brown and Kyle Boswell chipped in with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Williams, who has appeared in five of the team's seven outings, is a scoring machine with his 26.8 ppg, one of the top averages in all of college basketball. A 59.3 percent shooter from the floor, Williams is also a powerful rebounder with his 11.0 rpg, and yet the team as a whole is still being beaten on the glass by a fraction of a rebound per contest. Michael Bryson (11.6 ppg), Brown (11.1 ppg) and Boswell (10.9 ppg) help to complement the efforts of Williams, but they tend to be there only for support.
The Toreros used their meeting with Pacifica to pad their stats a bit, particularly at the defensive end of the floor where they limited the visitors to just 29.8 percent shooting, including 8-of-28 (.286) behind the 3-point line. Dennis Kramer notched a double-double for San Diego with 21 points and 13 rebounds, followed by Johnny Dee with 16 points, but beyond those two USD opted to spread the wealth as all 13 players who logged minutes scored at least two points.
Playing 32.5 minutes per contest, Dee leads the way in scoring with 17.8 ppg, followed by Duda Sanadze (12.3 ppg) and Christopher Anderson (12.2 ppg) as all three have combined to account for all but seven of the unit's 64 triples through 11 games. Anderson is not only someone who can be counted on to give the team a boost in scoring from the outside, he is also the director of the offense with his 67 assists, against 37 turnovers.
With a defense that is holding foes to just 36.6 percent shooting from the field and 24.7 percent beyond the arc, San Diego seems to have the makings of a successful team this season, but the squad has to figure out how to handle Williams if they want to survive this matchup.
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