The UCSB men’s basketball team will travel to Cal State Fullerton tomorrow night to face the Titans in its final game of a four game road trip. Three games into the trip, the Gauchos are 3-0 and will look to capture its fourth straight against Fullerton. The Gauchos (12-7 overall, 7-2 Big West) are currently in second place in the Big West, behind only first place Long Beach State (16-6, 9-0).
“It will be completely different playing [Fullerton] on the road,” Head Coach Bob Williams said. “They will be more comfortable and shoot the ball better.”
Santa Barbara beat Fullerton in a home game earlier this season by a score of 77-64 on Jan. 5.
“You get an idea the first time of what the other team wants to do against you,” senior guard Christian Peterson said. “The second time around is always harder, especially on the road — teams are more prepared.”
After this weekend, Santa Barbara will host one home game against UC Riverside (10-11, 4-4) before hitting the road for another three games. One of those games is an ESPN Bracket Buster game at Utah State (12-10, 4-3 WAC) on Feb. 18.
Last weekend, UCSB started off the road trip with a convincing 86-59 win over UC Davis on Thursday. Two days later, a game at Pacific went down to the wire. With 29 seconds left in the game, sophomore guard Kyle Boswell hit a three-pointer to put Santa Barbara up by one at 52-51. The Tigers took the lead back with two free throws, but a foul by Pacific and clutch free throws from senior guard Orlando Johnson with 14 seconds left eventually iced the game for the Gauchos 54-53.
“It’s a great way to start off our trip and a stretch where we have [seven of eight] on the road,” Williams said. “This will be the most crucial part of our season, and we are focused on taking care of business.”
This year’s Gaucho squad may be one of the deepest teams in recent memory for Coach Williams. All 11 players — including three freshman — have started at least one game for Santa Barbara.
“We are still searching for the right combination … how we want to play,” Coach Williams said of his rotating lineups. “We think the big lineup has been very productive and has allowed us to do things defensively.”