Hawaii (10-9) at UC Santa Barbara (7-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 26, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Thunderdome (6,000) -- Santa Barbara, California. Television: FSN-PT. Home Record: Hawaii 9-5, UCSB 5-3. Away Record: Hawaii 0-4, UCSB 2-8. Neutral Record: Hawaii 1-0, UCSB 0-0. Conference Record: Hawaii 4-4, UCSB 3-4. Series Record: Series is tied, 4-4.
GAME NOTES: The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors will try once again to secure that elusive first win of the season on the mainland, as they challenge the Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara in a Big West Conference battle at the Thunderdome.
Hawaii, which is 9-5 at the Stan Sheriff Center this season and also has another win against Chaminade close to home, has come up empty in four tries in true road dates. On Thursday night, the Warriors again saw their defense break down in a big way as they gave up 88 points to the Cal Poly Mustangs in a 29-point setback. The loss was the second in a row and the fourth in five games for Hawaii.
As for the Gauchos, they too were in action two nights ago and they also fell victim to another Big West foe as Cal State Northridge delivered a 75-69 decision. The setback snapped a two-game win streak by UCSB and now the team is one game under .500 in conference play at 3-4 as a result.
The teams have split their first eight meetings in the all-time series, one that dates back more than 50 years now. After a 71-49 win for the Gauchos back in 1962, the teams took a break until 2003 when UCSB again claimed victory with a 57-51 final out on the island.
Against Cal Poly on Thursday night, the Warriors saw their defense come unglued as the host made good on not just 56.4 percent from the floor, but also 11-of-25 shots behind the 3-point line. Christian Standhardinger and Isaac Fotu tried to keep the visitors competitive as they both tallied 14 points and combined for eight rebounds, but the rest of the starters added just seven points and the team a total of 21 rebounds as they were crushed on the glass, 38-21. Brandon Jawato accounted for 12 points off the bench as well. The effort on the boards was perhaps the most disappointing for the Warriors because at this stage of the season they are still clearing 40.0 rpg which means rarely are they held back by the opposition. Standhardinger (14.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Fotu (10.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg) are joined by Vander Joaquim (13.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg) to form one of the strongest rebounding front lines in college basketball, but it certainly wasn't evident on Thursday.
A total of 18 turnovers proved to be the downfall of UCSB in their meeting against Cal State Northridge a couple nights ago, as the Matadors converted those miscues into 23 points. Taran Brown, who made good on 4-of-9 shots beyond the arc, accounted for a team-best 16 points for the Gauchos, followed by Sam Beeler and Kyle Boswell with 15 points apiece, the former hitting all six of his field goal attempts and clearing six rebounds in the setback as well. Part of the problem for the Gauchos is that they were playing without leading scorer Alan Williams (17.4 ppg) who is currently dealing with a knee injury. Without Williams on the floor, that leaves only Boswell (13.1 ppg) and Brown (12.6 ppg) as the only active double-digit scorers for the program and that is simply not good enough if UCSB is still giving up almost 72 ppg.
Even if Williams is able to make an appearance for the Gauchos, he will not be 100 percent and that should leave the door open just enough for Hawaii to finally get that first road win of the campaign.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hawaii 68, UC Santa Barbara 62
01/26 10:45:30 ET