Saturday, February 17, 2018, 2:00pm PST
**Sam’s to Go, 12:00 PM**
UCSB is on amazing run with two impressive streaks coming into their Domecoming game vs. UC Davis on Saturday; an 8 game winning streak and undefeated (11-0) at home in the 2017-8 season. With a win, UCSB would set the school record for best start to a season. UC Davis is demonstrating a flair for the dramatic this year, winning a triple OT thriller over Cal Poly just three games after winning in OT @ Long Beach. So just as in the first game, UCSB will be facing an Aggie team coming off an emotional OT battle. Also as in the first game, as of now, both teams are missing their star big men to suspension with no timelines for return. Jalen Canty had a bandage on his hand at the Long Beach game and may not be available even if the suspension is lifted.
By the Numbers
|OOC Record, all games||17-9||20-5|
|Home/away vs D1||7-6 (away)||9-0 (home)|
|National Team Rankings|
|Composite (DC2, RPI, Pomeroy,
|Preseason Poll Pick||2nd||6th|
|Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)|
|Scoring (conference only)||73.5 (76.3)||78.1 (77.1)|
|PPG Allowed (conference only)||68.9 (72.4)||70.1 (68.5)|
Best win: N. Colorado (home + away, 112 DC2)
Worst Loss: Hawaii (away, 221 DC2)
Trend: The Aggies are 2-2 since the loss of Chima Moneke to suspension with both wins coming in dramatic OT fashion. UCSB handed Davis their first loss at home in nearly two years in their first place show-down on February 8. They lost a second consecutive home game to Fullerton two days later with the Titans prevailing 68-66.
Jim Les is in his 7th season at the helm of the Aggies and has won both a regular season crown (2014) and the BWT (2017). His record stands at 103-111 overall and 54-53 in BW play. He is the second consecutive opposing coach with an NBA pedigree (Theus) that UCSB will play. In the 1990-91 season he led the NBA in three point % while playing for Sacramento. Prior to coaching Davis, he had an excellent run at Bradley, taking the Braves to the Sweet 16 in 2006, the NIT 2nd round the following season then consecutive championship games in the lesser CBI & CIT, respectively.
As already mentioned, star forward Chima Moneke is suspended indefinitely and whether or not he plays will greatly impact this game. He is averaging 18.6 points, 9.6 boards and a block per game. Will presume he will not play, for now. As our guest previewer did a complete roster break-down, I have added his comments below mine, in italics.
Guard TJ Shorts 5’9” 160lbs, Junior. #0 A very quick & crafty pg, proven to cause problems for UCSB’s defense.. After somewhat keeping him in check the first half in their first game, Shorts took our defense to school in the second, making 9-12 field goals, all inside the arc, and getting to the line for 11 attempts, making 10. He repeatedly went to his left and SB should adjust to that in this game.
He leads the league in steals per game and is 3rd in assists. He does turn the ball over 2.5 times per game. He is tied with Schneider for active leading scorer on the Aggies, at 14.6 ppg.
TJ is only 5'9 and 160 pounds but he very strong and quick, has a high basketball IQ, is fearless driving to the hoop and has an uncanny ability to score among the redwoods in the paint. He is quickly becoming one of the finest PG's ever to wear an Aggie uniform. He was brilliant against Long Beach and put up 31 points.
Guard Siler Schneider 6’3”, 183lb, Junior. #5 Schneider also went off against UCSB scoring 24 on 3-3 from outside and getting to the line for 8 attempts, making 7. Pulls 3 boards per game and is second in assists with ~2 per game.
Siler is a 3 year starter for the Aggies who gives us 100% hustle all the time. He flies around the court, diving for the 50-50 balls, and is capable of getting hot and putting up big numbers. He has struggled some this year with his outside shot but has made up for that with driving buckets and floaters. He scored 27 against Long Beach.
Guard Michael Onyebalu 6’3”, 190 lb, Senior. #31 Onyebalu lit up the Gauchos from outside, making all four of his three point attempts. Third on team in rebounding with 3.5 bpg while adding 5.6 ppg.
Aggie fans love Michael. He's a senior that never saw much playing time in his first 3 years but he continued to work hard to improve and this year he landed a starting position. If anyone ever deserved a starting role from by working hard and never giving up, it's Michael; he paid his dues for 3 years. He is primarily a good defender and a very athletic rebounder. He had a career high 11 boards at Long Beach.
Forward AJ John 6’8”, 225lb, Junior #25 Normally comes off the bench but starting in Chima’s place. Fourth in scoring with 6.4 ppg and third in rebounding with 3.7 bpg. Second most 3pt attempts on team but makes only 29% of them.
At 6'8 AJ gives us a little size inside and he'll be called on to start for Moneke. AJ is a transfer from Pepperdine and was only cleared to play this year after a devastating knee injury and a long rehab. He says he now feels closer to being all the way back but he's still adjusting. He can score from the perimeter and has a beautiful 3 ball stroke. He has had problems with staying out of foul trouble, however.
Forward Garrison Goode 6’7”, 225 lb, RS Junior. #44 Averaging about 4 points & 3.5 boards per game in 26 minutes of play.
Garrison is hard working defender. He has struggled to score throughout his 3 years at Davis and is often hesitant to shoot. He was the most aggressive that I have ever seen him in the Long Beach game and he scored 14 points which was a career high for him. Hopefully, we'll see more of that especially while Moneke is out.
G Joe Mooney 6’3”, 187 lb. Sophomore. #22 Provides some scoring punch, especially from deep, off the bench.
Joe is our second lefty guard along with Shorts. He's been billed as a 3 point specialist but has had difficulty finding the range for the most part this year. Lately, he has been getting more playing time and has begun shooting a better percentage.
G Arell Hennings 5’8”, 150 lb. Senior #4 Les likes his small guards. Hennings fills in for Shorts at point, dishing 1.7 apg and adding 3.5 ppg in about 11 minutes of play.
Arell is our other diminutive point guard at only 5'8 and 150 pounds. He has been getting more playing time this year and has filled in well for Shorts when needed. He's quick and has the best 3 point shooting percentage on the team.
G Rogers Printup 6’4”, 205 Sophomore #23 Good three point shooter, .420 from deep, and playing about 14 mpg.
Rogers is a 3 ball shooter who can be deadly when he is feeling it. He lit up the nets against Washington State and is capable of catching fire at any time he is on the floor.
Colin Russell - forward: A junior in his first year with the Aggies, Russell, at 6'10, is our tallest player on the roster. He hasn't gotten a lot of playing time this year and has had difficulty staying out of foul trouble when he has. He's strong and he may see substantially more time while Moneke is out.
Delveion Jackson - guard: Jackson was a highly regarded recruit out of Boise, Idaho. He's 6'6 and very strong and athletic. He has only seen limited minutes as a true freshman this year. Curiously, he has not been seen with the team for at least the past 4-6 games and no one knows what has happened to him.
View from an Aggie Fan: With credit and thanks to BlueGoldAg (Updated, 2/17/2018)
So many things have changed in the past couple of weeks for the Aggies starting with the indefinite suspension of Chima Moneke. Then the Ags followed up that disappointing news with an improbable 105-104 double OT win at Long Beach. Although that game was one of the most remarkable wins in Aggie D1 history, a dark cloud still hung over the team and the fans as the the realization of the loss of Moneke began to sink in. There still has been no word from the university regarding Moneke's suspension and, at this point, most Aggie fans do not think we will get see him play again.
Not only has the loss of Moneke been huge for the team but it has had to be emotionally very difficult for Chima as well. Chima has an outgoing personality, always upbeat and entertaining and was not shy about expressing his love for his teammates. Now he's on the sidelines watching and the dream of possibly playing in the NCAA Tournament again appears to have vanished as well. In addition, Chima has not seen his parents for 9 years and they were scheduled to make a trip to Davis to finally see him play and that may not happen now either. It's just been tough all around.
When Santa Barbara came to Davis the Aggies were sporting the the nation's 4th longest home game winning streak at 19 games. The Gauchos started the game on fire from beyond the arc and ended the Aggies streak in a hard fought game. The Ags pulled to within 5 points with 1:28 to go and missed an open 3 before eventually losing 90-81 as the Gauchos made their FT's down the stretch. After the game Jim Les said that he "was very disappointed with the Aggie defense." It was a good effort by the Aggies but we simply have no big men who can replace the kind of talent and energy that Chima brings to the floor.
So the 19 game home winning streak was over and Fullerton was coming to town. The Titan's had handed the Aggies their worst conference loss of the year in the first game. Like the Gauchos, Fullerton came out sizzling from 3 and hit 10 in the game. This time Khalil Amad lit up the Pavilion with 21 first half points and the Aggies found themselves trailing by double digits until late in the game when they put on a furious rally to briefly take the lead. The Ags had a chance at the buzzer but TJ Shorts 5 footer in the paint rimmed out and the Ags now had a 2 game home losing streak.
One thing for sure about a Jim Les coached team is that there will be no quit in effort no matter what the circumstances. Les demands a hard work all the time and, when he sees anything less than that, players quickly find themselves on the bench. Aggie fans felt like the team gave a good effort all things considered but Les' expectations for his team were no different even without Moneke.
It was time for the Ags to regroup and head to Cal Poly for a game that seems to always be tough for the Aggies. Poly erased the Aggies double digit lead late in the second half and took the lead by 5 with 3 minutes to go but the Aggies clawed back to force OT and, finally, after the 3rd overtime the Aggies prevailed 92-84. Four Aggie players logged 40 to 50 minutes and Michael Onlybalu had a career high 25 points. It was the kind of effort that Jim Les relishes; he called it "gutsy" and said, that his team "just would not hang their heads and quit."
Now we have the rematch with the Santa Barbara who is in the driver's seat for the Big West title. Realistically, I think it is fair to say that the Gauchos are heavily favored and maybe even a double digit favorite. The Ags got close in the first game but the Gauchos have been playing well lately and they are playing at home.
In order to stay within striking distance the Ags will have to play outstanding defense. The Gauchos are too talented offensively for the Aggies to get into a shootout with. The Ags will need the kind of tenacious grit we saw at Cal Poly. Our guards have stepped up in the absence of Moneke but we need better contributions from AJ John and Colin Russell inside. Garrison Goode has been more aggressive on offense than we have ever seen him and we'll need that to continue.
TJ Shorts continues to impress even when he isn't scoring 20+ points. He gets into the lane so quickly and dishes out assists. He even led the Ags with 10 boards against Poly. Santa Barbara made things difficult for Shorts in the first meeting before he started doggedly taking the ball to the rim in the second half. There's no doubt the the Gauchos will focus on stopping Shorts from driving into the lane and, when that happens, TJ will need to kick the ball out and, hopefully, the Ags can knock down a few 3's.
So the task for the Aggies is tall, very tall, and it will take a superlative effort for the them to put themselves in a position to win by end of the game but, then again, no one thought the Ags would have a chance against Long Beach either and look what happened.
Game One, February 8 Recap
The Gauchos did their best Golden State Warriors impression and were blazing hot from outside and jumped to an early 20 point lead, going 8-13 from three. They put up 49 points in the first half against one of the best defenses in the conference. Taking advantage of Moneke’s absence, King went for 19 pts and 15 rebounds and Blackmon added 8 points. Gabe, Max and Marcus were a combined 9-12 from deep!
Conversely, the Gaucho pack-line defense gave up the perimeter and the Aggies took advantage, going 10-19. However, starting forwards John and Goode were a combined 3-9 for just 6 points.
Match-up & prediction:
Technically the status of the suspensions to both Moneke and Canty are unknown but it is starting to look like Moneke won’t be back for a while and Canty is also dealing with an injury so will assume they will be both be out.
Keys for the Gauchos:
1) Stop Shorts. Hey Gaucho defenders: Shorts is left handed and he likes to go to his left! Got it? Shorts may be the best pg in the league but UCSB did a decent job limiting him in the first half. In the second half he adjusted to the Gauchos extending out to stop him by beginning his drives earlier. Will be interesting to see how that chess match proceeds.
2) Again, take advantage in the post. King has been tremendous since Canty went out and our offense will be working through him a lot. Ami should exploit his size advantage while avoiding offensive fouls and wear the Aggies out. Blackmon has also been fantastic in picking up minutes in Canty’s absence and continues to improve.
3) Don’t ignore Schneider.
4) Gabe’s Dad says, “DEFENSE! Defense Gauchos, DEFENSE!!!”
Davis is coming off a triple OT game and UCSB is clicking on all cylinders. Plus it is Domecoming and our crowd should be solid. Less mystery this time around. If the Gauchos continue to do what they do, win every 4 minute battle, they have the advantage.
UCSB 81 Davis 68
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