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After losing two straight games, the second a 68-40 blowout to Wyoming, the UCSB men’s basketball team travels to face Santa Clara on Saturday night in search of its first road win of the season.
Santa Barbara fell to 2-4 on the season with Wednesday night’s loss to Wyoming, its first home loss of the season after winning its previous two games at the Thunderdome. The road, however, has been a struggle for the Gauchos, as they are 0-3 on the season and must now play at the home of the 5-1 Broncos on Saturday.
“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.
During Wednesday’s loss to Wyoming, UCSB struggled with fouls as its top two scorers in forward Taran Brown and center Alan Williams fouled out. Wyoming outshot the Gauchos in free throws 27-3, with UCSB amassing 24 personal fouls compared to nine by the Cowboys.
For Williams, this has grown into a trend where foul trouble has limited his playing time in several games this season.
“It’s really frustrating to know that I can’t help my teammates out at all times and I have to sit back and watch them,” Williams said. “I want to be in there fighting with them; I want to be in there fighting for them. When I’m sidelined due to foul trouble, I can’t do that.”
Despite limited playing time, Williams has been the team’s most consistent player, as he is the only Gaucho to score in double figures in each of its six games. Big Al is tied with Brown for the team lead in scoring with 14 points per game and leads the Gauchos in rebounding with over eight per game.
Against Wyoming, Williams scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a mere 20 minutes of play. UCSB’s 40-point performance on Wednesday was a program low dating back to a 64-36 defeat to Pacific in 2006.
Junior guard Kyle Boswell was the only other Gaucho to score in double figures with 10, while Brown and freshman guard Michael Bryson scored nine and eight points, respectively. The only other Gaucho to score in the blowout loss was freshman forward Mitch Brewe with two points.
“We just weren’t in our rhythm [Wednesday],” Al Williams said. “It’s a stinker and we just have to let it go and prepare for the game on Saturday.”
Santa Clara, meanwhile, lost its first game of the season on Wednesday in an 80-78 defeat to Utah State in overtime. The Broncos started off the season with their first 5-0 record since 1968, fueled in large part by senior guard Kevin Foster’s team leading 21.7 points per game.
“We’re going to get there and we’re going to keep fighting. Right now we’re having trouble offensively and defensively putting things together,” junior guard Kyle Boswell said. “I have no doubt that we’re going to get there. However many games it’s going to take, we’re going to learn a lesson and we’re finally going to make it.”
Saturday’s game against Santa Clara is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Leavey Center.