UC-Santa Barbara (5-6) at Oregon St. (8-3) / Gill Coliseum / 6:30 PM PST / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon St. is back in action tonight after over a week off for Christmas, in their only game between the Holidays, and their last non-conference contest of the season, against UC-Santa Barbara.
It's just the 4th meeting ever between the Beavers and the Gauchos. UCSB won the first meeting, 62-53 in Santa Barbara back in December of 1960. Both teams protected their home court in a home and home series in 1986 and 1987, as Oregon St. took a 91-85 win at Gill in December of '86, and UCSB pulled out a 71-70 win the following year back on the Gauchos' floor.
It's the second trip to the valley in as many weeks for the Gauchos, who lost 82-78 at Oregon in overtime last Monday night when the Ducks' Jalil Abdul-Bassett scored the last 7 points of the game. It was the 3rd loss in 4 overtime games the Gauchos have already gotten into this season.
It was the first of consecutive overtime wins over Big West visitors for Oregon; the Ducks downed UC-Irvine 69-67 in overtime last night. These Big West seems good for extra time games, so it could be an extended evening!
The Beavers, who are 7-0 at Gill so far this year, saw their 5 game winning streak snapped last Sunday when Quinnipiac handed them a 60-52 loss back in Connecticut. Oregon St. was led by Olaf Schaftenaar, who had a career high 18 points, but Gary Payton II, the Beavers' leading scorer, was shut out. Further, Payton is also the Beavers' leading rebounder, and was limited to just 1 board.
The Gauchos are led by the 1-2 punch of 6'8" senior Alan Williams, who averages a double double, and leads UCSB in scoring, with 18.5 points per game, and rebounding, at 11.8 rebounds per game, and 6'4" junior guard Michael Bryson, who averages 14.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, second on the squad in both categories.
Oregon St. will need Payton to get back to closer to his averages of 12.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game to counteract their Big West Conference visitors.
It is a "pick-em" game in the eyes of the odds-makers, so expect a down to the wire contest.