February 9, 2000

Men's Basketball, Winners Of Four Out Of Five, Host Cal State Fullerton & UC Irvine

Feb. 9, 2000

The Schedule
Game No. 20
Thursday, February 10, 2000, 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Fullerton Titans
at UCSB's Thunderdome

Game No. 21
Saturday, February 12, 2000, 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Irvine Anteaters
at UCSB's Thunderdome

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters the week with an 8-11 overall record and a 4-4 mark in Big West play. After opening the league schedule with an 0-3 mark, the Gauchos have won four of their last five games. Over that span, they have won road games at Pacific and Cal Poly and they have defeated Nevada and Idaho at the Thunderdome. The lone loss in the last five games was at front-running Long Beach State. In fact, since opening the year at 0-4, UCSB is actually over the .500 mark overall with a record of 8-7.

UCSB Sweeps Weekend, Moves Into Second Place
UCSB swept its two games last weekend, winning 87-79 at Cal Poly on Thursday night and then defeating Idaho 72-55 at home on Saturday evening. The pair of victories moves the Gauchos into second place in the Big West Conference's Western Division with a 4-4 record. UCSB and Pacific, whom the Gauchos beat on the road, are both a 4-4, trailing first-place Long Beach State. Each team sits one game ahead of Cal State Fullerton, two ahead of UC Irvine and three ahead of Cal Poly.

Payton Named Big West Player Of The Week
UCSB guard Brandon Payton was selected as the Big West Player of the Week after leading the Gauchos to the victories at Cal Poly and over Idaho. In the 87-79 win at Cal Poly, he scored a career-high 27 points, hitting 8-of-13 shots from the field and 3-of-4 from three-point range. He also had a season-high five rebounds. On Saturday, Payton tossed in 15 points, making 5-of-8 from the field and 1-for-1 from three-point territory. In the two games combined, he averaged 21.0 points, shot 61.9% from the field, 80.0% from three-point territory and all 12 of his free throws.

What About Bob?
Bob Williams is in his second season as head coach of the Gauchos. Last year he guided the Gauchos to a 15-13 overall record and an outstanding 12-4 mark in Big West play. After guiding the squad to the league's Western Division Championship, Williams was selected Big West Coach of the Year and National Association of Basketball Coaches District 15 Coach of the Year. After 19 games this season, Williams' Gaucho record is now 23-24 and his overall record as a college coach is 212-124. His teams have won either a league, division or National Championship in five straight seasons.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Derrick Allen - Has not missed a free throw in nine games, 12-of-12.
G - Erick Ashe - Has at least one three-point basket in 18 consecutive games.
G - Larry Bell - Including last season, UCSB is 14-5 when he is in starting lineup.
F - Mark Hull - Has made nine of his last 14 three-point attempts, 64.3%.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Tied his career-high with 16 rebounds vs. Idaho.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Brandon Payton - Has averaged 13.8 ppg in last six, shooting 45.8%.
G - B.J. Ward - Seven points vs. Idaho was his highest output in Big West game.
G - Matt Long - Freshman walkon played two minutes and scored two vs. Nevada.
G - LaRon Bryant - Has made at least two three-pointers six times.
F - Juliano Jordani - Has made seven of his last 11 shots, 63.6%.
F - Mike Vukovich - Has blocked at least one shot in each of last two games.
F - Ross Carmichael - Played a season-low three minutes vs. Idaho.

Gauchos vs. The Opposition
UCSB and Cal State Fullerton have played 44 times since the series began in 1977 and each team has won 22 games. Last year, the Gauchos swept the series, winning in Santa Barbara by a score of 73-54 and on the road by an 80-75 count. The Gauchos and UC irvine have played 48 times dating back to 1968 and UCSB holds a decisive 31-17 advantage. Last season, the Gauchos won both games, defeating the Anteaters in Santa Barbara, 76-61 and in Irvine, 79-68. UCSB has won five of the last six meetings between the schools.

Gauchos Begin Big West Push...Again
With four wins in its last five games, UCSB has started its push in Big West play...again. Last year, after starting out 0-8, the Gauchos waited until the Big West schedule to really catch fire. This year, they waited until the Big West season was three games old to turn things around. UCSB opened the regular season 0-4 and after three games of Big West play, they were 4-10 overall and 0-3 in league. Since that start, the Gauchos have won four out of five games, including two out of three on the road, to improve to 4-4 in Big West and 8-11 overall. Over the last five games, the only loss that UCSB has suffered came at the hands of Long Beach State and, in fact, the Gauchos are 2-1 against Big West Western Division teams this year and with their 9-1 mark against divisional foes last season, they have gone 11-2 in the last two campaigns.

Payton Place
As stated earlier in this release, Brandon Payton was named Big West Player of the Week for his performances in last week's wins at Cal Poly and over Idaho. In the two games, he averaged 21.0 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting 61.9% overall, 80.0% from three-point territory and 100.0% (12-for-12) from the free throw line. He had a career-high 27 at Cal Poly, playing a season-high 29 minutes. In eight Big West games, Payton is averaging 11.5 points per game, shooting 42.5% overall and 43.8% from three-point range. In the last six games, the junior from Oakland has averaged 13.8 points, been in double-figures five times, shot 45.8% overall, 43.0% from three-point range and 85.2% from the free throw line.

What The Hull?
Freshman Mark Hull is rapidly becoming one of the most pleasant surprises in the Big West Conference. In Saturday's win over Idaho, he scored 17 points, making 7-of-11 shots from the field, and he had five rebounds, three assists and a career-high three steals. He is one of two Gauchos averaging in double-figures overall (10.3 ppg) and in Big West play, he is scoring 12.4 points per game and pulling down 6.1 rebounds per contest. At Cal Poly, when he struggled offensively scoring only six points, he set a career-best with nine rebounds. In the past five games, Hull has also come alive from three-point range. On the year he has made 18-of-46 (39.1%) and in Big West play he has canned 11-of-23 (47.8%), the fourth best mark in the league. Going a step further, in the last five games, Hull is 9-of-14 from beyond the arc, 64.3%. As he continues to produce, Hull also moves up UCSB's Freshman Top-Ten Lists. Note the box to the right.

Ashe Makes His Points
Erick Ashe leads the Gauchos in scoring at 12.7 points per game and after a slow start he has heated up. In Big West play, he has averaged 14.4 points per game and made 43.6% of his three-point attempts. In fact, since scoring a total of 12 points over the first four games, Ashe has averaged 14.3 points and shot 35.0% overall and 35.9% from three-point range. He has scored in double-figures 12 times in 19 games, including nine of the past 11 games. Finally, Ashe leads the team in three-point baskets with 43 and he has hit at least one in 18 consecutive games. In his two seasons he has now made 82 treys, ranking him seventh on the school's all-time list. On January 22, Ashe scored 27 points, a career-high and the most points scored by a Gaucho player this season.

How The Gauchos Rate In Big West Games
The Gauchos rank high in several statistical categories in league games. They are third in the Big West in scoring margin (+2.5), second in field goal percentage defense (40.8%), first in three-point field goal percentage (42.4%), first in total three-pointers made (61), first in rebound margin (+3.5 per game), second in assists (15.6 per game), second in steals (7.89 per game).

Take Me To Three-Pointsville
After three games this year the Gauchos were 3-of-33 from three-point range. At that point, if you had told me that they would lead the Big West in three-point shooting in conference games, I would have called for a sobriety test. But, since they opened the season by making only 3-of-33 shots from three-point territory, a dismal 9.1%, the Gauchos have turned things around. In Saturday's win over Idaho, they made 5-of-9 (55.6%) to improve their mark on the season overall to 34.4%, sixth in the Big West. In eight Big West games, the Gauchos have made 61-of-144, an outstanding 42.4%, the top figure in the league. Since they opened the year by making 3-for-33, UCSB has hit 36.9% from beyond the arc. When they made 12-of-20 from three-point territory in a January 29 loss at Long Beach State, it was the most three-pointers UCSB had hit since they canned 13 against Cal State Northridge in December of 1995. Last year, the Gauchos made a total of 124 three-pointers in 28 games and now they need only one more to equal that total. In fact, last season they never made more than seven in a game and this year they have made seven or more ten times and they have made nine or more six times. In addition, after averaging only 4.4 three-point baskets per game last year, the Gauchos are clicking to the tune of 6.5 per game this season. If they could average 6.0 per game the rest of the season, playing 27 games, they would finish with 171 and that would break the school record of 164 set in 1995.

For Whom Bell Toils
He toils for the Gauchos. Since entering the starting lineup on January 22 against Nevada, Bell has averaged 6.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.4 steals, but more importantly, UCSB has gone 4-1 in those games. Winning with Bell in the starting lineup is nothing new for the Gauchos. Last season he entered the starting lineup for good in the 16th game and UCSB closed out by going 10-3, so since Bell became a full-time starter last year, the Gauchos have gone 14-4 with him in the starting lineup.

Ndiaye On Boards
Junior Adama Ndiaye tied his career-high with 16 rebounds in last week's win over Idaho. The double-digit rebound effort was Ndiaye's fifth of the season and it equalled his previous career-best of 16 set in December against Concordia. Ndiaye has had four double-doubles this season, one each against New Mexico State, St. Mary's, Concordia and Westmont College. He also leads the Big West in blocked shots at 1.58 per game.

On The Horizon
UCSB returns home on Saturday for a 7:00 p.m. game against UC Irvine. Next weekend, the Gauchos travel to Cal State Fullerton (February 17) and UC Irvine (February 19).

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