UC Santa Barbara (7-12) at Long Beach State (11-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 30, 11:59 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Walter Pyramid (4,200) -- Long Beach, California. Television: ESPN News. Home Record: UCSB 5-4, LBSU 6-2. Away Record: UCSB 2-8, LBSU 5-6. Neutral Record: UCSB 0-0, LBSU 0-0. Conference Record: UCSB 3-5, LBSU 7-1. Series Record: Long Beach State leads, 61-55.
GAME NOTES: The top team in the Big West Conference settles in for another outing at the Walter Pyramid on Wednesday night, as the Long Beach State 49ers entertain the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.
Not only is LBSU the top team in the Big West with a record of 7-1, but the squad is also sporting an impressive home win streak of 21 consecutive games entering this contest. At home over the weekend, the 49ers made it look easy against UC Irvine in an 81-59 final, which means the team has won six in a row after losing the first game of the month at Cal Poly (79-73).
Meanwhile, the Gauchos are alone in eighth place in the Big West with a record of 3-5 after falling to Hawaii at home last Saturday, 78-73. The defeat, which happened to be the first true road win of the season for the Rainbow Warriors, was the second in a row for UCSB.
Long Beach State won the first meeting of the season between these two teams earlier this month by a score of 77-70 on the road, thanks to Michael Caffey who tallied 19 points, pulled down nine rebounds and handed out five assists, one of four players to score in double figures for the 49ers as they shot 54.2 percent from the floor. The Gauchos, who shot only 56.5 percent at the free- throw line in the meeting, also turned the ball over 18 times.
Now having four straight over UCSB, LBSU leads the all-time series by a count of 61-55.
UCSB was dominated on the glass, 45-30, and outscored at the free-throw line by the Rainbow Warriors, 25-10, as the team bowed to Hawaii over the weekend. Taran Brown led three double-digit scorers for the Gauchos with his 15 points, followed by Kyle Boswell and T.J. Taylor with 12 and 11 points, respectively, in the home setback. Clearly the team missed Alan Williams, out with a knee injury, as he leads the way in both scoring (17.4 ppg) and rebounding (9.9 rpg), and without him the Gauchos were beaten up on the glass. Still listed as questionable for this clash with LBSU, if Williams is again unable to go that leaves Boswell and Brown as the top scoring options, the only players scoring in double figures at the moment outside of Williams.
Except for only 60 percent accuracy at the free-throw line, the 49ers were hitting their shots at a high rate against UC Irvine, connecting on 56.9 percent from the floor overall and 11-of-19 beyond the arc, as they crushed the Anteaters by 22 points at home. James Ennis led a quartet of double-digit scorers with 17 points, followed by Dan Jennings with 14, Peter Pappageorge with 11 off the bench, and Keala King 10, to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Ennis heads a list of four players scoring double figures on the season overall, putting up 17.0 ppg, in addition to clearing 6.9 rpg which is also first on the unit. Caffey (12.2 ppg) may be shooting only 36.7 percent from the field and 27.8 percent beyond the arc, but the team needs him on the floor because of his passing ability (85 assists) and defense (28 steals).
After losing the first meeting of the season between these two teams, the Gauchos certainly have revenge as a motivating factor this time around, but considering LBSU has been untouchable at home this year, it doesn't appear as though UCSB will be able to swing momentum in its favor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Long Beach State 73, UC Santa Barbara 64
01/30 10:34:06 ET