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Western Illinois (5-6) vs. UC Santa Barbara (6-4)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 21, 7:30 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270) -- Logan, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: WIU 4-0, UCSB 3-1. Away Record: WIU 0-6, UCSB 2-3. Neutral Record: WIU 1-0, UCSB 1-0. Conference Record: WIU 0-0, UCSB 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between the Western Illinois Leathernecks and the Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara is slated to take place this evening at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on the final day of the Basketball Travelers Classic.

The Leathernecks, a team which is winless in six true road games so far this season, did finally pick up a win away from home last night as they took down Troy in this event by a score of 61-58. The victory snapped a minor two-game slide and drew the squad to within one game of .500.

As for the Gauchos, they began this tourney with a 57-54 win over the Trojans on Thursday night, but on Friday they saw a three-game win streak come to an end as they suffered a 77-71 overtime loss to host Utah State.

A pair of free throws by Jabari Sandifer with six seconds remaining broke the fourth tie of the game and helped lead the Western Illinois Leathernecks to a 61-58 win over the Troy Trojans last night. Sandifer, who added another free throw in the final moments in order to give the Leathernecks some separation, shot only 1-of-6 from the floor as he finished with five points off the bench. Adam Link led the way with 24 points and seven rebounds for WIU, followed by Garret Covington and Tate Stensgaard with 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Link, the leading scorer for the Leathernecks in five of their last six outings, accounts for 12.2 ppg at the moment and is also second on the glass with 5.6 rpg. Link is shooting an impressive 60.4 percent from the floor, but a disappointing 58.1 percent at the free-throw line where the team as a whole is just 60.3 percent through 11 games.

The Gauchos were led by Kyle Boswell who turned his 7-of-11 shooting behind the 3-point line into 27 points off the bench, as the team had a two-game win streak snapped. Alan Williams tallied 23 points on 10-of-24 shooting from the floor and added nine rebounds in the losing cause. UCSB made a total of just 11 field goals in the first half, but five of those came from 3-point range, allowing the Gauchos to stay within two points at the break, 31-29. Despite being beaten on the glass, 40-29, the Gauchos were able to keep the game close by turning the ball over just five times.

Even though the Gauchos are just two games over .500 at the moment, there is no denying that Williams is one of the better players in the nation that very few people know about. He not only leads the program in scoring with 23.2 ppg, stemming from his 55.9 percent shooting from the floor, he is also tops with 10.2 rpg and is coming up with almost three blocked shots per contest as well. Boswell and Michael Bryson check in with 12.4 and 11.9 ppg, respectively, to help ease the burden on Williams.

Western Illinois has been putting together solid defensive efforts this season, allowing only 56.2 ppg, but much of that has come against much weaker competition, so don't expect that to be the case again tonight.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Santa Barbara 69, Western Illinois 60

12/21 11:18:50 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 4
DUR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR
 
Final
BAL 7
ANA 6
Final
CLE 2
SEA 5
Final
DET 4
CWS 11
Final
CIN 3
ARI 0
Final
TAM 5
MIL 1
Final
NYM 0
PHI 6
Final
BOS 2
TOR 4
Final
MIA 3
WAS 0
Final
CHC 4
COL 3
Final
TEX 11
NYY 12
Final
KAN 1
MIN 2
Final
HOU 4
OAK 7
Final
LOS 8
ATL 4
Final
SDP 3
STL 1
Final
SFG 1
PIT 3
12:10pm Today
TAM
MIL
 
12:10pm Today
NYM
PHI
 
12:35pm Today
CIN
ARI
 
12:40pm Today
MIA
WAS
 
2:10pm Today
HOU
OAK
 
3:45pm Today
SFG
PIT
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
ANA
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
SEA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
TOR
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
COL
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
NYY
 
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
MIN
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
ATL
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
STL
 
Final
CHR 4
DUR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR