GAME NOTES: One of three teams tied for first place in the Big West Conference standings heading into the weekend, the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos are slated to host the UC Davis Aggies at the Thunderdome.
Along with the Gauchos, UC Irvine and Long Beach State are also sporting 4-2 records in conference play in order to sit atop the standings as play begins on Saturday. On Thursday night, UCSB won for the fourth time in the last five outings with an 80-60 blowout of the Anteaters at home.
Meanwhile, the Aggies fall further down on the list of success in the Big West, winning just twice in six opportunities. Also in action two nights ago, UC Davis managed to slip by Cal Poly by a final of 62-58, the team's second victory in the last three outings after having dropped three in a row.
These squads first met back in 1939 and to this point, the relationship has been dominated by UC Santa Barbara, 22-5. The Gauchos not only swept the season series a year ago, they've run off 10 straight victories over UC Davis.
Corey Hawkins scored 16 points, leading four players in double figures, as the UC Davis Aggies posted a four-point win over the Cal Poly Mustangs in Big West Conference play at Mott Gym. Ryan Sypkens accounted for 14 points off the bench, shooting 4-of-6 behind the 3-point line for the Aggies. Avery Johnson and Georgi Funtarov added 11 and 10 points, respectively. The Aggies, who shot only 6-of-13 at the free-throw line, outscored Cal Poly out on the perimeter, 30-9.
Unfortunately, the season should have had a much brighter outlook for the Aggies but the team has had to deal with the loss of J.T. Adenrele and Josh Ritchart to injury. Ritchart had been scoring 17.3 ppg and pulling down 6.6 rpg before exiting, which means only Hawkins and Sypkens remain as double- digit performers with 18.1 and 12.0 ppg, respectively. On the glass, the top active producer is Funtarov (9.2 ppg) with his 4.8 rpg, which explains why the Aggies are being beaten on the glass by an average of almost seven rebounds per contest.
Alan Williams registered a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds as the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos cruised to a 20-point win over the Anteaters in conference action at the Thunderdome a few nights back. Also scoring in double figures for the Gauchos were Taran Brown and Kyle Boswell with 16 and 10 points, respectively. Brown was a perfect 5-of-5 beyond the arc. The Gauchos outscored the visitors at the charity stripe, 24-11, and also won the rebounding battle, 41-33.
Despite missing a couple of games, Williams leads the Gauchos in both scoring and rebounding, and is one of only a handful of players in the country averaging a double-double with 23.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per contest. Kyle Boswell, predominantly a backup who is shooting better behind the 3-point line (.458) than he is the field overall (.444) at this point in the campaign, is responsible for another 11.6 ppg and is second on the unit with 3.2 apg as well.
Missing some key players this season, UC Davis is lucky to be where it is right now. Unfortunately, the team doesn't have the strength in the paint to come close to slowing down Williams, which is why UCSB has the inside track on the win today.
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