Facing struggles on the road, the UCSB men’s basketball team returns home to host Wyoming tonight as the Gauchos attempt to win their third straight game at home.
UCSB holds a 2-3 record thus far in the season, as the team is winless on the road and undefeated at home. Tonight’s matchup will be a big test for the Gauchos’ home court advantage as Wyoming enters the Thunderdome with a 6-0 record.
“It’s going to be a big game for us. We’re really excited, we’re getting revved up,” sophomore center Alan Williams said. “We need to be physical, we need to go out there and play as hard as we can, and hopefully we can go out and give Wyoming their first loss.”
After defeating San Diego handily at home, the Gauchos struggled at Boise State on Saturday, a defeat which snapped a two-game winning streak. While road concerns have been a problem for Santa Barbara, the Gauchos have won both home games by an average margin of 18 points as they hope to continue the same trend tonight.
“Right now, this young ball club hasn’t figured out to sustain when momentum starts against them on the road,” Head Coach Bob Williams said. “At home, we haven’t had much of a problem with that — we’ve actually sustained pretty well.”
Wyoming will try to win its seventh straight game tonight in an attempt to match its best start since the 1969-70 season. The Cowboys will embark on the road for only the second time this season, beating Northern Colorado 69-60 in their only other contest away from home. UCSB is certainly up to the challenge of facing an undefeated squad.
“That adds a lot of motivation for us. We just want to go out and get that win even more now, break that run they’ve got,” freshman forward Taran Brown said. “We’re a lot more confident at home.”
Brown has been on f ire for the Gauchos, averaging a team-high 15 points per game while second in rebounds with six. Williams, meanwhile, continues to be an imposing presence for Santa Barbara down low as he leads the team with over eight boards per game and is second in scoring with nearly 15 points per game.
As the third youngest team in the nation, the Gauchos have struggled to remain consistent and tough from game to game, an issue they hope to resolve starting against Wyoming.
“Everybody has watched the success that LSU and Illinois State, and now Boise State, have with just denying us, physically denying us,” Coach Williams said. “I expect them to be very physical with us, try to get into us and cause problems in doing that.”
Defensively, UCSB allows nearly 70 points per game, a number that drops to under 50 when at home. The Cowboys average 67 points per game, reaching 60 or more points in every contest this year.
“We’ve got to get in there and be more physical, be tougher and change our mindset,” Alan Williams said. “We’re a really good team at home.”
Tip-off for tonight’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Thunderdome.
A version of this article appeared on page 5 of November 28th, 2012’s print edition of the Nexus.