Cal State Northridge (9-10) at UC Santa Barbara (7-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 24, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Thunderdome (5,600) -- Santa Barbara, California. Television: None. Home Record: CSN 4-4. UCSB 5-2. Away Record: CSN 2-6, UCSB 2-8. Neutral Record: CSN 3-0, UCSB 0-0. Conference Record: CSN 0-7, UCSB 3-3. Series Record: UCSB leads, 29-15.
GAMES NOTES: In the second leg of a three-game homestand, the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos will look to make it three straight wins when the Cal State Northridge Matadors come to the Thunderdome for a Big West collision.
The losses have been piling up for Cal State Northridge, which has dropped seven straight bouts. The Matadors' last win came over a month ago when they took down Utah, 76-71, on Dec. 21. The losing streak has turned what was a promising start to the season into a dismal campaign for the Matadors who are now 9-10 overall and a disastrous 0-7 in league play.
After an 83-81 double overtime victory over Cal Poly to kick off this current three-game homestand, the Gauchos have now won back-to-back contests on the heels of a stretch when they lost five of six. UC Santa Barbara is just 7-10 overall but has evened its league mark to 3-3 with that victory.
The Gauchos earned a series sweep last season and have won three straight overall against the Matadors. The winning streak has increased UCSB 's all- time series lead to 29-15.
Cal State Northridge was taken down by Pacific, 74-62, last time out. In the loss the Matadors allowed the Tigers to shoot at a 49 percent clip from the field while the Matadors hit on 41.5 percent. Turnovers played a major role with the Matadors coughing the ball up 17 times leading to 21 points for Pacific.
On the offensive end the Matadors have been strong as they rank second in the conference in scoring (77.3 ppg). Where they really need improvement is on the defensive end. The Matadors are currently allowing 75.3 points per game on 46.8 percent shooting. The fifth-leading scorer in the conference, Stephan Hicks (17.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg) has been the top offensive option, while also providing strong efforts on the glass. Stephen Maxwell (14.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg) is another scorer and force on the boards. Josh Greene (12.9 ppg, 3.9 apg) is the third member of the squad averaging in double figures, while serving as the lead distributor.
A Taran Brown 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining was the last field goal in regulation for either team and forced overtime in the marathon between UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly. The teams then combined for 10 total points in the first extra session to push the game to a second overtime. Kyle Boswell then threw the Gauchos on his back as he scored the team's last six points to carry them to the win.
In the contest, the normally productive Alan Williams (17.4 ppg, 9.9 rpg) put up one of his worst efforts this season. The 6-foot-7 forward, who leads the conference in rebounding and ranks fourth in scoring, managed just seven points in five rebounds. Williams did mange to keep his top spot in blocks in the league (2.4 pg) with a pair of rejections. Boswell (12.9 ppg) illustrated how effective he can be, while Brown (12.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.4 apg) continued to contribute across the board.
Stops will be at a premium on the defensive end in this contest. When it comes down to it the Matadors don't have the type of personnel needed to slow Williams and company down.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Santa Barbara 79, Cal State Northridge 72
01/24 10:35:35 ET