Carrying a four-game losing streak and the worst offense in the conference, the UCSB men’s basketball team looks to get the monkey off its back when it hosts UC Davis in the final game of its three-game homestand tonight at the Thunderdome.
With a looming road trip that will take the Gauchos (7-11 overall, 1-6 in the Big West) to first-place UC Irvine – undefeated in league – and second-place Long Beach State, a win over the Davis could be essential to gathering momentum.
Santa Barbara can find encouragement in its 64-50 win over the Aggies (6-14 overall) in Davis on Jan. 15. In the victory, the Gauchos earned their only road win and had their best shooting game of the season, hitting 54 percent of their shots from the floor.
Coming off of last week’s losses to Cal State Northridge and Pacific, UCSB seems to be searching for its offense. Santa Barbara has just two double-digit scorers in senior guard Cecil Brown and sophomore forward Chris Devine, averaging 13.7 and 12.3 points per game, respectively.
UCSB is averaging just 65.3 points per game and has had two straight games where it has not broken the 60-point barrier. Devine, who recently ranked in the top-25 shooting percentages in the nation at 62 percent, made just 37 percent of his shots against Northridge last week. Senior guard Joe See appears to be cooling off after going on a tear, hitting double digits in scoring in seven of eight games before going quiet in the past two games.
The lagging offense for UCSB could pose a problem against the Aggies and junior forward Thomas Juillerat. The reigning NCAA Division I Independents Men’s Basketball Player of the Week, Juillerat posted a season-high 17 points in Davis’ 76-69 win over UC Riverside a week ago. He also recorded his first career triple-double in a 94-92 triple overtime loss to Fullerton last Saturday with 12 points, a career-high 12 rebounds along with 11 assists.
The Aggies are 3-6 against Big West opponents this season, earning wins over Riverside, Cal Poly and Irvine.
A bright spot for UCSB of late has been junior forward Glenn Turner. After posting nine boards against the Northridge, Turner earned his first start of the season against Pacific. Turner dominated the glass for the Gauchos, snagging a career-high 11 boards and is tied for second on the team with 4.6 rebounds per game.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Thunderdome.