GAME NOTES: The California Golden Bears are playing their very first true road game of the season tonight, as they take on the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the Thunderdome.
Cal was in action on Monday night, hosting UC Irvine, and came away with a convincing 73-56 win over the Anteaters. The victory snapped a two-game slide for the team, having fallen to Syracuse and Dayton the previous week during the Maui Invitational.
The Gauchos, who are in the midst of a three-game run against Golden State- based schools, are coming off an 89-76 loss to UCLA on Tuesday. The defeat was the third in the last four outings for the program and now they are an even 3-3 on the campaign as a result.
Unfortunately for the Gauchos, they are still searching for their first win against California. The teams began their relationship back in 1948 and continued with a date last season, a 68-59 victory for the Golden Bears to run their mark to 9-0 versus UCSB.
This is the first time for California playing in the Thunderdome since the school helped open the facility back on Nov. 30, 1979, although at that time the building was known as the Campus Events Center.
Cal's defense was all over the Anteaters, allowing the visitors to register just seven field goals in the first half and 29.4 percent shooting from the floor overall in the 17-point decision. David Kravish registered a double- double for the Bears with 19 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Jabari Bird and Richard Solomon with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Tyrone Wallace came up two points shy of his own double-double as he cleared 11 boards, while Justin Cobbs produced nine assists.
Cobbs may be the leading scorer for Cal at the moment with his 14.0 ppg, but he showed on Tuesday that he is more willing to sacrifice his own offense in order to keep the California offense operating. Of the team's 118 assists through eight games, Cobbs has come up with 50 and, just as importantly, has only 18 turnovers. Solomon (11.3 ppg), a 55.3 percent shooter from the floor who is only 50 percent accurate at the free-throw line, makes up for that deficiency with a team-best 10.8 rpg.
Against UCLA, the Gauchos kept pace on the floor as both teams knocked down 52.8 percent of their field goal chances. UCSB actually performed better beyond the arc (13-of-26), compared to just 6-of-17 for the hosts, but where the Gauchos came up woefully short was at the free-throw line where they were outscored, 27-7. Alan Williams tried to give the Gauchos a fighting chance with his game-high 23 points, to go along with eight rebounds, while Michael Bryson accounted for 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Also scoring in double figures were Kyle Boswell and Taran Brown with 18 and 11 points, respectively.
Appearing in four of the team's six games, Williams continues to be a fiery scorer with his lefty 27.5 ppg, stemming from 59.2 percent shooting from the floor, which is actually better than his mere 58.8 percent at the free-throw line. Bryson (12.7 ppg), Boswell (11.0 ppg) and Brown (10.7 ppg) are all shooting better than 44 percent beyond the arc, leading to 41.7 percent success for the program overall from long distance.
With Williams on their side the Gauchos can never be completely counted out, but at the same time Cal also has a wealth of taken to draw from, even on the road where the squad has yet to be tested in front of true opposing fans.
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