Jan. 27, 2000
Stockton, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara, playing its best game of the season, defeated the University of the Pacific, in Stockton, 69-54.
The victory was the second in the row for a Gaucho team that, until now, had not won back-to-back games this season, and they did it with defense. UCSB limited Pacific to a mere 36.7% shooting from the field, an even more impressive 19.0% (4-of-21) from three-point range. In addition, the Gauchos came up with a season-high five blocked shots and ten steals.
Tiger guard Clay McKnight, one of the top three-point shooters in the Big West, hit his first attempt from beyond the arc with 18:47 remaining in the first half, giving Pacific their only lead of the night, 3-0. Freshman Mark Hull responded with a three-pointer to tie the score and launch the Gauchos on a 9-2 run that was capped by a three-pointer from guard Erick Ashe, giving UCSB a 9-5 lead with 15:04 left in the first half. The Tigers scored four in a row on inside buckets by forward Mike Hahn and Mike Preston, tying the score for the last time, 9-9.
UCSB continued the defensive pressure, holding Pacific scoreless for the next five minutes and when Ashe drilled another three-pointer to complete a 7-0 run, they led 16-9. UCSB's lead never dropped below five points the remainder of the first half. Brandon Payton scored on a floating jumper in the lane with 1:28 left in the half, giving the Gauchos their biggest lead of the first half, 30-17. UCSB wound up leading at halftime, 30-19.
The second half was more of the same for the Gauchos. UOP's Preston opened the scoring with a slam dunk to cut the lead to single-digits at 30-21, but the Gauchos responded by going on a 6-0. Hull hit a driving layup to give UCSB a 36-21 and the team's lead never dropped below double-figures the rest of the way. With 9:58 left in the game, Hull drilled a three-pointer, giving UCSB its biggest lead of the contest, 54-36.
In the second half, the Gauchos came up with six steals and five blocked shots. They were led offensively by Hull who had 16 points, despite playing only 23 minutes due to foul trouble. Hull made 7-of-12 shots overall and 2-for-4 from three-point range. In the last two games, the graduate of Hoover High School in Glendale has now made 4-of-6 shots from beyond the arc. Erick Ashe continued his outstanding play by making 5-of-10 shots overall and 3-for-6 from three-point range, finishing with 14 points. He also added a steal and four rebounds. Brandon Payton was the third Gaucho in double-figures with ten points. Senior guard Larry Bell and Derrick Allen had eight and nine points respectively, but it was their defense that dictated the action. Bell also had three steals, two blocked shots, four rebounds and a season-high seven assists. Allen had two steals and five assists and it was his defense that cause McKnight to make only 1-for-5 from three-point range.
Forward Adama Ndiaye scored only six points, but finished with a team-high seven rebounds and career-highs of five blocked shots and three steals.
The Gauchos are now 6-10 overall on the season and 2-3 in Big West play. The win over Pacific was their second of the year on the road and it was the second win in succession over the Tigers in Stockton. UOP falls to 7-10 overall and 2-3 in the Big West.
UCSB will return to action on Saturday night, January 29, when they travel to Western Division front-runner Long Beach State for a 7:30 p.m. game at the Pyramid.