UC Santa Barbara (10-7) at Pacific (7-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 28th 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Spanos Center (6,150) -- Stockton, California. Television: None. Home Record: UC Santa Barbara 7-3, Pacific 6-4. Away Record: UC Santa Barbara 3-4, Pacific 1-8. Neutral Record: UC Santa Barbara 0-0, Pacific 0-0. Conference Record: UC Santa Barbara 5-2, Pacific 3-4. Series Record: Pacific leads, 54-50.
GAMES NOTES: UC Santa Barbara will try to keep pace near the top of the Big West standings when the Gauchos travel to the Spanos Center to take on the Pacific Tigers.
UC Santa Barbara opened the season winning four straight but has since stumbled to just a 10-7 record overall. The Gauchos' troubles have not carried over to the conference schedule though, where the team is 5-2 and tied for second in the standings. This game is the second part of a four-game road trip for UC Santa Barbara that continues against CS-Northridge next week.
Pacific beat Cal Poly to win back-to-back games for only the second time this season. The win continues the Tigers slow climb back into contention with Pacific now at 3-4 in-conference. Pacific will begin a two-game road stint beginning at UC Riverside after playing the Gauchos.
Pacific has the historical advantage overall at 54-50, but Gauchos lead 40-27 since 1980.
UC Santa Barbara won in commanding fashion over UC Davis on Thursday with an 86-59 edge on the scoreboard. The Gauchos had five players in double figures in the game led by senior guard Orlando Johnson. Johnson is the teams leading scorer, as well as the conferences at 19.7 per game. Johnson also leads in assists (3.2 apg) and is second in rebounding at 6.0 per game. Johnson has scored in double figures in all but one game this season including the last eight straight. Senior forward James Nunnally (15.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is another prolific scorer for the Gauchos as their second option. Freshman forward Alan Williams put up a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds in the most recent win. Williams has been a solid performer (5.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) for the Gauchos this season and has begun to play major minutes recently playing 20 minutes or more in five of the last seven games after not doing so in the previous eight. UC Santa Barbara has been able to convert these efforts into 73.1 points per game, which is the third best mark in the conference.
Just as its record would imply Pacific has been near the middle of the Big West in terms of offensive production this season scoring 64.5 points per game and shooting 40.9 percent from the floor. No scorer really stands out with junior guard Lorenzo McCloud (10.5 ppg) and sophomore forward Ross Rivera (10.1 ppg) the only players to average in double figures. Rivera has been on a bit of an upswing in terms of scoring of late, putting in double figure point totals in seven of the last eight games including a season-high 21 points in a win over CS-Northridge on January 12th. Pacific has been stingy on defense during its past two victories, allowing point totals of 48 and 51, respectively.
UC-Santa Barbara has one of the best scoring tandems in the conference in Johnson and Nunnally. In a game in which the Gauchos are playing a Pacific team that doesn't score particularly well, this will be a distinct advantage and should lead to their sixth conference win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Santa Barbara 76 Pacific 65
01/28 10:43:17 ET