Men's Basketball Hosts Long Beach State & Pacific In Final Weekend Of Regular Season

Feb. 29, 2000

The Schedule
Game No. 26
Thursday, March 2, 2000, 5:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Long Beach State 49ers
at UCSB's Thunderdome

Game No. 27
Saturday, March 4, 2000, 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. University of the Pacific Tigers
at UCSB's Thunderdome

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters Thursday's game against Long Beach State with an overall record of 13-12 and a Big West mark of 9-5. Their 54-50 win on the road at Boise State on Saturday enabled the Gauchos to move above the .500 mark for the first time this season. UCSB opened the season at 0-4 and 4-10, since then they have gone 9-2. In fact, since they opened Big West play with an 0-3 mark, they have gone 9-2 in league play.

Gauchos Clinch 2nd In West With Win At Boise State
The Gauchos clinched second place in the Big West's Western Division with their win at Boise State on Saturday night. UCSB did it the hard way. After leading by as many as 11 points in the first half at Boise, the Gauchos fell behind in the second half. In the second half, they trailed by as many as nine points and with less than five minutes to play, UCSB trailed by eight points at 46-38. In the final 4:15 of the contest, however, Santa Barbara outscored the Broncos 16-4 to produce the improbable victory, their second in a row and seventh in the last eight games.

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 25 games this season, Williams' Gaucho record is now 28-25 and his overall record as a college coach is 217-125. His teams have won either a league, division or National Championship in five straight seasons.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Derrick Allen - Had career-high 13 rebounds in win over Boise State.
G - Erick Ashe - Has made at least one three-pointer in 24 straight games.
G - Larry Bell - UCSB is 19-5 over last two years with him in starting lineup.
F - Mark Hull - 253 points ties for fourth highest freshman total in UCSB history.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Has been in double-figures in four straight, a career-high.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Brandon Payton - Has averaged 15.3 points in the last eight games.
G - B.J. Ward - Is fourth on team in steals (15) but only eighth in minutes played.
G - Matt Long - Walk-on guard has played in two games.
G - LaRon Bryant - After opening 1-for-11 from 3-pt. range, he is 27-of-57, 47.4%.
F - Juliano Jordani - Scored four at Boise State, his first points in six games.
F - Mike Vukovich - Tied his career-high with 13 points vs. Cal Poly.
F - Ross Carmichael - Has not played in the last three games.

Gauchos vs. The Opposition
UCSB and Long Beach State have played 83 times over the years with the 49ers holding a narrow 42-41 advantage. Long Beach State gained that edge on January 29 when they defeated the Gauchos at the Pyramid, 86-68. The loss at Long Beach was one of only two suffered by the Gauchos in the last 11 games. UCSB and Pacific have played 78 times with the Tigers holding a 41-37 lead. The Gauchos, however, have won the last three games in the series, including a 69-54 win at Stockton on January 27.

Defending Their Honor
If you are going to shoot 31.3% and turn the ball over 24 times in a game, as UCSB did on Saturday at Boise State, then you would be well advised to limit your opponent to 29.2% shooting. That is what the Gauchos did to the Broncos, forcing them into 19 turnovers for good measure. The 29.2% defensive effort by the Gauchos was their fourth sub-30.0% effort of the season. Previously, UCSB had held Stanford to 26.3% (15-of-57), BYU to 29.6% (16-of-54) and St. Mary's to 29.1% (16-of-55). The Gauchos continue to lead the Big West Conference in field goal percentage defense at 38.8%. Only one Santa Barbara opponent has shot better than 50.0% on the season, USC at 51.4%. Not only has UCSB limited four opponents to below 30.0% from the field, they have limited 20 to below 45.0% and to below 40.0% from the field. In addition, Gaucho opposition has made only 146-of-496 three-point attempts, a meager 29.4%. Opponents have made better than 30.0% of their three-pointers in 12 games.

On The Rebound
Since being outrebounded in each of their first three games, UCSB has turned the rebounding game around. In fact, with an average rebound margin of +4.6 rebounds per game, the Gauchos lead the Big West Conference in rebounding. UCSB has not been outrebounded in eight straight games, winning seven battles and tying one. Since those first three games, the Gauchos have either tied or outrebounded 19 of 22 opponents, including the last eight in a row. On eight occasions, UCSB's rebound margin has been ten or more, including the last two games when they outrebounded Cal Poly by 17 and Boise State by ten.

UCSB Goes Back-To-Back With Winning League Record
By defeating Boise State on Saturday night, the Gauchos not only locked-up second place in the Big West's Western Division, but they also guaranteed themselves of finishing league play with a winning record. At 9-5, the worst UCSB could do is finish with a 9-7 record in Big West games. Last year, the Gauchos posted a 12-4 conference record. This marks the first time that UCSB has had a winning record in back-to-back Big West Conference seasons since the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons. When they were over .500 last season, it marked their first winning record in league play since the 1992-93 campaign.

Speaking Of Rebounds: The Word On Derrick Allen
Not since current Los Angeles Lakers' guard Brian Shaw won the Big West rebounding title for the Gauchos in 1988 has UCSB had a point guard who rebounded with the consistency of senior Derrick Allen. In Saturday's win at Boise State, the 6-foot Allen gathered a career-high 13 rebounds, the most by a Gaucho guard since the days of Shaw. For Allen, it was his fourth double-figure rebounding performance of the season and the fifth of his career. He Is now averaging 5.2 rebounds per game overall and 5.7 per game in league play. Allen had ten rebounds apiece against New Mexico State, UC Irvine and Westmont College and he has averaged 9.7 per game in the last three games and, on the season, he paces the team in defensive rebounds with 112, five more than Adama Ndiaye. In addition, while he struggled with turnovers in the win at Boise State, he has 48 assists and 16 turnovers in his last 11 games, a ratio of exactly 3-to-1.

The Hull Truth
Swingman Mark Hull has become one of the top freshmen in the Big West Conference and in the process, he has become one of the top freshmen in UCSB history. Hull ranks second on the Gauchos in both scoring (10.1 points per game) and rebounding (5.2 rebounds per game). He is one of two Gauchos to start every game this season and he has played a team-high 710 minutes, 27 more than the next closest player. If Hull could maintain his lead in playing time, he would become the first freshman in Gaucho history to pace the team in minutes played. Twice this season he has scored a career-high 19 points, once each against Pepperdine and Nevada, and he has been in double-figures 14 times. Statistically, he is also moving up on UCSB's all-time freshman lists. Please note the box to the left.

Hull On UCSB Freshman Lists

Category          Stat          Rank
Points              253         t-4th
Average             10.1        t-4th
Rebounds            131           3rd
Average              5.2          2nd
Field Goals          93           5th
FG Attempts         209           4th
3-Pt. FGS.           20           3rd
3-Pt. FG Atts.       57           3rd
3-Pt. FG%           35.1%         1st
Free Throws          47           5th
FT Attempts          61           9th
FT%                 77.0%         7th
Steals               14           7th 

Payton Place
UCSB guard Brandon Payton has improved his scoring average on the season to 9.4 points per game. In the last eight games, the junior from Oakland has averaged 15.3 points per game and included in those eight games were a pair of career-best performances and three games of 20 points or more. On February 3 at Cal Poly, Payton scored 27 points on 8-for-13 shots from the field and 3-for-4 from three-point range. On February 13 at Cal State Fullerton, he tallied another career-high with 28 points. In fact, the 28 point performance was the most points scored by a Gaucho this year and the most scored by a Gaucho since Josh Merrill notched 31 in a February victory over Long Beach State last season. On February 23, Payton struck against Cal Poly again, scoring 21 points on 8-of-14 from the floor. While he is shooting 40.7% on the year, Payton has hit 43.0% in league play, including a sizzling 45.7% from three point range. On the year, he has produced three of UCSB's top five scoring performances. Finally, with 236 points on the season, Payton has become the fourth Gaucho in history to score 200 points or more in their freshman, sophomore and junior seasons, joining Carrick DeHart, Ricky "Tex" Walker and York Gross.

Ashe's Habit
Senior guard Erick Ashe has made a habit of hitting three-point baskets. By making two in Saturday's win at Boise State, Ashe has now made at least one three-point basket in 24 consecutive games. In fact, over the last 24 games, Ashe has made two or more 15 times. On January 22 against Nevada, he drilled a career-best six three-point buckets and he scored a career-high 27 points. In a win at Cal State Fullerton on February 17, he made five. He has hit four treys on three occasions. In all this season, Ashe has made 56 three-point baskets, the fifth highest total in school history. If he could hit three more on the year and get to 59, he would move into fourth place. When he hit his two threes on Saturday, he became the fifth player in UCSB history to hit the century mark. Ashe now has 101 three-pointers, the most ever by a two-year player. He continues to lead UCSB in scoring (12.2 points per game) and he has been in double-figures 15 times, the most on the team. In addition to his offensive exploits, Ashe has produced 41 steals on the season, second on the team to Derrick Allen. In recent gams, he has truly emerged as a top Gaucho thief. He had three steals in the win at Boise State, including a key one late in the game that helped the UCSB overcome an eight point deficit in the final four minutes. Ashe has had at least one steal in 11 of the last 12 games and three or more in five of the last seven. On the season he has had at least one steal 17 times, two or more 12 times, three or more seven times and four or more five times. He had a career-high five in a win at Cal State Fullerton. As a United States Marine for four years, Ashe knows a little about National Defense and now he is proving that he knows a little about backcourt defense as well.

Ndiaye Stands Tall
In UCSB's February 23 win over Cal Poly, Gaucho junior forward Adama Ndiaye was limited to 22 minutes because of foul trouble. Despite playing only 22 minutes, Ndiaye recorded his fourth double-double of the season going for ten points and ten rebounds. Ndiaye is fourth on the team in scoring (9.0 points per game), first in rebounds (7.6 per game), first in blocked shots (38) and third among regulars in field goal percentage (49.1%). In a road win at Cal State Fullerton on February 17, Ndiaye scored a career-high 19 points. On two occasions he has recorded his career-high of 16 rebounds in a game, including once against big West opponent New Mexico State. On January 27 at Pacific, he blocked a career-high five shots in a win. With 11 points in Saturday's victory at Boise State, Ndiaye has now scored in double-figures in four straight games, the longest such streak of his career. The native of Dakar, Senegal has now scored in double-digits in five of the last six, six of the last eight and 12 times overall.

Ndiaye's Double-Doubles

Date   Opponent        Pts.    Rebs. 
12/20      Concordia        10           16
1/8        St. Mary's       13           13
1/15       at NMSU          10           14
2/23       Cal Poly         10           10

Vukovich Emerges
In the first 22 games this season, sophomore forward Mike Vukovich played 20 for a total of 183 minutes, an average of 9.1 per game. In the last three games he has played a total of 41 minutes an average of 13.7 per game. On the season, the graduate of Mater Dei High School has scored 86 points, 28 of which have come in the last four games, an average of 7.0 per game.

Dome, Sweet Dome
That tune has changed a bit since early in the year. After opening the season with a 2-4 record at the Thunderdome, Santa Barbara has gone 6-2, including five victories in a row, to improve to 8-4 at home. The Gauchos do not have to be embarrassed by their home losses either. The four games they lost were to Stanford (62-49), Pepperdine (68-64), BYU (57-48) and Utah State (61-57). That foursome entered this week's action with a combined record of 85-22. Stanford, Pepperdine and Utah State were are all currently in first place in their respective conferences.

UCSB vs. The West
The Gauchos have had a pretty good time of it against the Western Division of the Big West. Last season, UCSB was a sterling 9-1 against the West, losing only at Long Beach State on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Charles O'Neal. This year, the Gauchos have gone 6-2 against the West, losing at Long Beach State and at UC Irvine. In two seasons under Bob Williams, Santa Barbara is 15-3 against the Western Division, including 4-0 against Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly, 3-0 against Pacific, 3-1 against UC Irvine and 1-2 against Long Beach State. Williams' Gauchos have also gone unbeaten at home against the West, recording a perfect 8-0 mark at the Thunderdome with a double-digit victory margin in seven of the nine games and an average victory margin of 15.9 points per game.

Bell Chimes In
It was no accident that UCSB's fortunes changed when senior guard Larry Bell entered the starting lineup. In his 11 starts, the Gauchos have gone 9-2, giving him a 19-5 record as a starter over the last two seasons. Recently, Bell has started to emerge as the team's best playmaker. He has had four or more assists in 12 straight games and in the last ten games he has averaged 6.4 per game. At one point during the last ten games, Bell had eight or more assists in three straight games. He has also began chipping in with some rebounds (4.0 per game) and some steals (1.8 per game).

On The Horizon
Another trip on the dreaded Southwest Airlines. Following this weekend, the Gauchos will play in the Big West Tournament March 9-11 in Reno, Nevada.