In perhaps its ugliest game in school history, the UCSB men’s basketball team hit a storm at Moscow, Idaho and went ice cold.
Listlessly, Santa Barbara hit a scoring drought and the University of Idaho took advantage to trounce the Gauchos 57-45 on Thursday night at the Cowan Spectrum. UCSB’s up-and-down season continues, as the Gauchos are now 12-7 overall and 6-4 in the Big West.
The Gauchos appeared extremely sluggish in the first half. After the Vandals began the game on a 9-0 run, UCSB Head Coach Bob Williams responded by replacing all five Santa Barbara starters. Although the second group didn’t make much of a difference, it appears that the starting lineup may be in order for readjustment.
“I don’t think we started very well,” Williams said in a post-game interview to KTLK 1340 A.M. “There wasn’t a sense of urgency with the first group, so I wanted to make some changes.”
Santa Barbara scored just 11 first-half points, tying its lowest first-half total, which was against Fresno State in 1981, an era with no shot-clock. UCSB hit just three total field goals on 17 attempts, amassing just a 17.6 percent shooting from the field. The Gauchos also converted only 4-10 free throws. Santa Barbara didn’t even make a field goal until sophomore guard Joe See converted a three-pointer with 13:06 to play in the half.
“I thought they played really well defensively,” Williams said. “Our post guys never did establish anything down low. That’s a credit to them.”
Idaho certainly did not shoot the lights out either, but clearly fared better than the Gauchos. The Vandals secured 16-38 shots, highlighted by Dwayne Williams’ season and game-high 23 points, including 6-10 three-point field goals. Firing NBA-range threes, Williams seemed to dampen the spirits of an emotionless Santa Barbara squad.
Santa Barbara finished the game, shooting an atrocious 21.3 percent from the field on 10-47 shooting. Although See and senior guard Branduinn Fullove led the team with nine points apiece, nearly every Gaucho struggled on the evening. Santa Barbara committed 16 turnovers and hit just 20-33 shots from the charity stripe.
“We are a mystery team. When things don’t go well for us, we have a tendency to buckle,” Williams said. “We’re going to have to make some changes.”
On Saturday Santa Barbara must try to upset the Big West’s top team, the Utah State Aggies, who easily handled Cal Poly 57-43 at home. Although the prospect appears unlikely, the Gauchos need to try to split on this road trip to remain in contention for the Big West title.
“We don’t have much of a shot [of beating Utah State], if you ask me where I sit right now,”
Ranked #24 nationally, Utah State is 18-1 overall and an undefeated 10-0 in the Big West.
Santa Barbara and the Aggies tip off at 3 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net 2.