The Gaucho men’s basketball team opens its season this weekend at the University of Oregon’s BTI Invitational, where it plays three games in three days.
[media-credit name=”Daniel Wade” align=”alignleft” width=”166″][/media-credit]“We’ll find out [if we’re ready] when we get on the floor,” Head Coach Bob Williams said. “You just don’t know at this time of year. I know they’re excited.”
UCSB won its first exhibition game at the Thunderdome last Friday against Master’s College, an NAIA Division I squad, but the team struggled to guard the perimeter and create offensive opportunities. Junior guard Orlando Johnson and junior forward James Nunnally combined for 43 of the team’s 68 points in the Gauchos’ 14-point victory.
“We want to be really good at recognizing how other teams are hurting you,” Williams said. “We want to be quicker to make adjustments as a group.”
Williams also commented on the health of the squad, claiming that junior forward Jaimé Serna and senior guard Justin Joyner should be back in the lineup for the weekend after both sat out with injuries against Master’s College. The two should help take some of the load off the offensive responsibilities of Nunnally and Johnson.
“They’re just going to come in, do their job,” Johnson said. “[Serna’s] going to give us a post presence we really need, scoring-wise.”
UCSB faces Denver tonight at 4:30 p.m. They play 6 p.m. games against North Dakota State on Saturday and Oregon on Sunday. The Ducks are the Gauchos’ only Pac-10 opponent of the season, but the team was predicted to finish sixth in the conference in a pre-season coaches’ poll. In the Big West coaches’ preseason poll, the Gauchos were picked to repeat as conference champions.