UCSB, Cal Poly Renew Blue-Green Rivalry Thursday in SLO

Michael Bryson (Photo by Mike Centioli)
Michael Bryson (Photo by Mike Centioli)

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This Week
Game No. 15
Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal Poly Mustangs

at Cal Poly's Mott Gymnasium - San Luis Obispo, Calif.
On-Line Audio: TuneIn Radio and UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: BigWest.tv
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com

Game No. 16
Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Irvine Anteaters

at UCSB's Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.
On-Line Audio: TuneIn Radio and UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: BigWest.tv
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com

Gauchos Travel To Cal Poly Before Returning Home For Three Games  
UC Santa Barbara travels to Cal Poly on Thursday, Jan. 14 in a renewal of the Blue-Green Rivalry. The Gauchos will then return home to host Big West Conference defending champion UC Irvine, on Saturday, Jan. 16. The game against the Anteaters will be the first of three consecutive home games for UCSB, which at that point will have played 12 of its 15 games away from home. 

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters Thursday's game against the Mustangs with an overall record of 6-8 and an 0-1 mark in the Big West. The Gauchos opened league play on Jan. 9 with a 65-57 loss at Hawai'i, ending a four-game winning streak. Prior to falling to UH, they had won 87-46 over Point Loma, 88-50 at Seattle, 83-78 at Washington and 80-76 over Iona in Las Vegas. 

Green Remains Sidelined For This Weekend
Senior forward John Green, who is averaging 11.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, remains sidelined with an injured right knee. When Green hurt his knee in a Dec. 22 win over Iona, it was originally determined that he would not return until the end of January or beginning of February and that timetable still seems accurate. Green, however, has started running and it is not completely impossible that he could return somewhat sooner.

Gauchos Fall At Hawai'i In Big West Opener
Gabe Vincent tied his career-high with five three-point baskets, the last one coming with 3:57 to play and pulling UC Santa Barbara within 58-57, but Hawai'i outscored the Gauchos 7-0 the rest of the way to claim a 65-57 Big West win on Saturday night. Hawaii made 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch and Stefan Jankovic scored the only field goal when Isaac Fleming drove baseline and found him with a nice feed. Jankovic made his lay-up as the shot clock ran out to give his team a 61-57 lead with just under minute to play. Michael Bryson kept UCSB in the game by scoring 10 points in the first half. He finished with his second double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Vincent scored a team-high 17 points, 11 in the second half. Mitch Brewe added eight points and five boards. As a team, the Gauchos shot just 37.7% from the field and 25.0% (5-for-20) from three-point range. The Warriors were limited to 39.3% overall and a mere 20.0% (5-for-25). 

Possible Starters - Quick Fact
G 1 Eric Childress - Has four or more assists in four straight games for the first time in his career...His nine three-pointers rank third on the team.
G 2 Gabe Vincent - Tied his career-high with five three-pointers at Hawai'i...Has made 9-of-15 three-pointers in the last two games, 60.0%.
F 10 Maxwell Kupchak - Started six straight games...Has played 20 or more minutes in five consecutive games.
G 24 Michael Bryson - Needs three points to become 13th UCSB player to score 1,300 or more...Nine threes at Seattle tied school record.
C 44  Sam Beeler - Fouled out for the first time this season in the game at Hawai'i...Despite going 1-for-3 at UH, still leads UCSB at 70.2%.

Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
F 0  Jarriesse Blackmon - Played just two minutes in Big West opener at Hawai'i...Had career-high eight rebounds in 19 minutes on Jan. 2 vs. Point Loma.
G 3 Grant Troutt - Sidelined indefinitely with a hip injury...Scored personal best eight points, making a pair of three-pointers, on Jan. 2 vs. Point Loma.
G 11 T.J. Taylor - Has three assists in each of the last three games and has two or more in five of the last six...Has logged 11 or more minutes in eight straight games.
F 12 Alex Hart - After playing 10 or more minutes in six of eight games, registered just one minute at Hawai'i...Has made eight of his last 12 field goals, 66.7%.
G 13  DaJuan Smith - Has played 14 or more minutes in four straight games...Has nine rebounds in the last two games...Scored season-high 10 points at Washington.
F 14  Ami Lakoju - Did not enter the game at Hawai'i...Fouled out in eight minutes on Jan. 2 at Point Loma.
F 21 Mitch Brewe - Has averaged 8.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in last five games...Made three or more field goals in each of the last five games.
G 25 Justin Burks - Out indefinitely with a broken right hand...Played career-high nine minutes in season opener at Omaha.
F 31  John Green - Injured right knee on Dec. 22 vs. Iona and is not expected to return until late-January or early-February...Averaging 11.7 points and 5.7 rebounds.

The Opponents
UCSB and Cal Poly have played 107 times dating back to 1937. The Gauchos hold a 73-34 edge and they beat the Mustangs three times last season, including a 54-50 win in the first round of the Big West Tournament. UCSB and UC Irvine have played 84 times since the teams first met in 1968. Santa Barbara holds a 50-34 all-time edge and while the teams split a pair of regular season games last year, the Anteaters beat the Gauchos in overtime at the Big West Tournament, 72-63. 

The Gauchos Away From Home 
UCSB is 5-6 away from home this season, winning at Nebraska-Omaha in the season-opener on Nov. 13, 60-59,  on Nov. 25 at San Francisco, 68-61, Dec. 28 at Washington, 83-78, and most recently on Dec. 30 at Seattle, 88-50. The Gauchos also won a neutral site games against Iona in Las Vegas on Dec. 22, 80-76. The losses came on Nov. 16 at Cal, Nov. 29 at Arizona State, Dec. 13 at South Dakota State, Dec. 16 at Vermont, Dec. 21 vs. Akron in Las Vegas and at Hawai'i on Jan 9. 

Bryson Inches Up All-Time Scoring List
Since sitting out the season opener at Omaha, senior Michael Bryson has scored 254 points in 12 games, pushing his career total to 1,297, 13th in school history. When he scored a career-high 36 points at Seattle on Dec. 30, he passed Ricky "Tex" Walker (1,235), Conner Henry (1,236) and Richard Anderson (1,247) on the list and he added 13 more against Point Loma. Bryson's next series of targets are Scott Fisher (1,351), York Gross (1,399) and Branduinn Fullove (1,411). If he can score 125 points and pass Fullove, he would move into 10th on the all-time list. While Bryson didn't make a three-pointer in the game at Hawai'i, he has made 197 in his career, fourth in school history. He needs 21 to move past Kyle Boswell (216) and Mark Hull (217) and into second all-time. The school's all-time leader is James Powell with 221 career threes.

Williams In 18th Season, Longest Tenured Coach West Of South Dakota 
Bob Williams is in his 18th season as head coach of UCSB men's basketball. Williams' tenure is the longest in school history, surpassing the previous mark of 16 seasons by Willie Wilton (1937-43, 1946-51, 1952-57). In addition to having the longest tenure in Gaucho history, he now stands alone as having the longest tenure of any coach west of the Mississippi River. Williams has been in Santa Barbara one year longer than Mark Few has been at Gonzaga and one year longer than Steve Fisher has been at San Diego State. When UCSB played at South Dakota State on Dec. 13, Williams will be was in the rare situation of coaching against someone with a longer tenure than his. Scott Nagy has been at the helm of the Jackrabbits since 1995-96. However, South Dakota State didn't move to Division I until 2004-05, thus Williams is the longest tenured Division I head coach west of Lansing, Mich. Tom Izzo began his stint at Michigan State in 1995-96.

Defending The Three
Although it lost its Big West opener at Hawai'i, UCSB continued a trend as it limited the Rainbow Warriors to a 5-for-25 three-point field goal performance, 20.0%. Through 14 games, Gaucho opponents are making just 31.0% of their three-point attempts. In the 14 games, 10 opponents have shot below 30.0%, including the last four in a row. In the last four games – at Washington, at Seattle, vs. Point Loma and at Hawai'i – Santa Barbara's opponents have made just 27 out of 107 three-point attempts, 25.2%. The lowest three-point field goal percentage by an opponent this season came on Nov. 13 when Omaha hit a mere 3-of-22 from outside the arc, 13.6%. The sole opponent to shoot better than 50.0% was Oregon State on Nov. 21 when it made 10-of-18, 55.6%.

A Rebound Rebound
Since being outrebounded in consecutive games against Arizona State, USC and Vermont, UCSB has outrebounded seven straight opponents. In their last game, the Gauchos had a 39-37 edge over Hawai'i and one game earlier that had a season-best +18 mark against Point Loma. In the last seven games they have outrebounded the opposition by 50, an average margin of +7.1 per game. On the season, UCSB now has a 28 rebound edge, +2.0 per game, and in 14 games it has outrebounded its opponent 10 times.

A True Non-Conference Road Sweep? It Had Been A While
UCSB flew to Seattle on Dec. 26 for a two-game road trip that would see it play Washington on Dec. 28 and Seattle University on Dec. 30. The Gauchos beat the Pac 12 Huskies 83-78, and then mashed the Redhawks 88-50. At no point did they leave the Emerald City, remaining holed-up in the Waterfront Marriott for five nights. Also, neither of the games were played at a neutral site. Thus the wins at UW and SU marked the first true two-game non-conference road sweep for the program since December of 1992 when Jerry Pimm's Gauchos won at St. Mary's (79-37) and Sacramento State (64-57).  

Playing On The Margins
In consecutive games, UCSB defeated Point Loma by a score of 87-46 and Seattle by an 88-50 tally. The 41-point margin over Point Loma was the largest since the Gauchos defeated Seattle University by the exact same score on Dec. 4, 2014. The last time the Gauchos won a game with a margin bigger than 41 was on Dec. 19, 1992 when they won 79-37 at St. Mary's. The 79-point margin over two games, a 39.5 point average, was the largest two-game spread since December of 1971 when they beat Arizona (97-63) and Chicago State (108-56) in consecutive games, a combined 86 points. 

Bryson Ties Long-Standing Record For Three-Pointers 
Senior guard Michael Bryson scored a career-high 36 points and tied a UCSB school record when he made nine three-point baskets in the Gauchos' 88-50 win at Seattle on Dec. 30. Bryson's previous career-high in points was 29, which he accomplished twice, and his previous career mark for three-pointers was seven, which he set against Pacific at the Big West Tournament during his freshman season. The nine threes tied the record set by Brian Johnson in a loss at New Mexico State on Feb. 7, 1987. Bryson also set the record for most three-point attempts with 18 vs. Seattle.

80-Point Game Streak Ends
When the Gauchos scored a season-low 57 points in the loss at Hawai'i, it ended a streak of four straight games in which they scored 80 or more points. After scoring between 59 and 68 points in each of the first eight games of the season, UCSB finally hit the 70-point mark in its 84-70 loss to Akron on Dec. 21 and then reeled off four straight games of 80 or more. The last time the Gauchos scored 80 or more points in four consecutive games was in February of 1973 and Richard Nixon still occupied the White House. Santa Barbara scored a season-high 88 points on Dec. 30 vs. Seattle and followed that up with an 87-point performance on Jan. 2 vs. Point Loma.

Taking A Pass On Assists
UCSB had a season-low 20 field goals in the loss at Hawai'i, so it is no wonder that it tied its season-low with 10 assists. In the two preceding games, the Gauchos set a season-high in assists. On Dec. 30 at Seattle, they had 23 on 34 field goal in a win at Seattle and then in a Jan. 2 win over Point Loma they had 24 on 38 field goals. The previous season-high was 21 on Nov. 29 at Arizona State.