With a 6-1 home record, the second best scoring defense in the Big West and a full roster untouched by injuries, the UCSB men’s basketball team seems to have all the pieces required to put together a successful season. Yet, the Gauchos (6-8 overall, 1-3 in the Big West) travel to UC Davis (4-10 overall) this weekend still looking for their first road win of the year.
After suffering its first defeat at the Thunderdome this season Jan. 9 against UC Irvine 70-66, despite outshooting and outrebounding the Anteaters, UCSB is looking to adjust its play on the road.
“We’re looking to change things up,” Head Coach Bob Williams said. “We’re going to try giving ourselves a few more ways to play on the road. We’re going to go small at times and we’re going to go big at times. We’re going to look at trying to get a little more versatility.”
If versatility is what the Gauchos are looking for, they need to look no further than leading scorers senior guard Cecil Brown and sophomore forward Chris Devine. Brown tops the team, averaging 13.9 points per game. Averaging 5.6 boards per game, Devine leads the squad and leads the conference in field-goal percentage, hitting 61 percent of his shots.
Santa Barbara has not had to just rely on Devine and Brown for its offense lately. In the past two games, four or more Gauchos have hit double-digits including two for senior guard Joe See. In his six starts, See is averaging 7.6 points per game and is seventh in the conference in three-point percentage. Look for See to get some quality time this weekend, along with the regular starters. UCSB will be mixing up the lineups this weekend, trying some new combinations to find a way to increase its intensity on the road.
“One of the things we’re going to do is shake it up in terms of which players play together at each different stage of the game,” Williams said.
Davis – who will become an official member of Division I and the Big West in the 2007-2008 season – is coming off of an 81-58 loss at #10 Louisville on Monday. The Aggies have three players averaging double-digits and are led by senior forward Phil Rasmussen’s 12 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Despite its ugly record, Davis boasts wins over previously ranked Stanford on Dec. 4 and Irvine on Jan. 4.
“I like [Davis’] team,” Williams said. “They are big, they have good size and they are very tough and very physical.”
Sunday’s tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at UC Davis’ Pavilion. The Gauchos take a break next week, returning to action at Cal Poly on Jan. 21.