Feb. 12, 2000
SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. - Mark Hull scored 16 points and UC Santa Barbara limited UC Irvine's leading scorer Jerry Green to two points on 1-for-6 shooting, as the Gauchos defeated the Anteaters 55-40 on Saturday night in Santa Barbara.
With the win, UCSB has now won four games in a row and six out of seven. The victory also keeps the Gauchos all alone in second place, one game ahead of Pacific and three back of front-running Long Beach State. UCSB is now 10-11 overall and 6-4 in the league. UC Irvine drops to 10-11 overall and 3-7 in league.
The blanketing Gaucho defense held the Anteaters to just 17 points in the first half, on 8-of-24 shooting from the floor. They were not able to get their first bucket until Marek Ondera hit a jumper after 2:21 had expired from the game clock. Ondera led UCI with 14 points. UCSB's game-opening onslaught gave them a 14-2 advantage with less than five minutes expired. The first half lead grew to as many as 17 at 28-11 with 4:41 remaining, but the Anteaters outscored the Gauchos 6-0 to end the half and close to 28-17 at half.
The second half saw the offense for both teams match shots. A jumper by Ondera with 3:15 remaining cut the Gaucho lead to six points, 46-40, but that was as close as the Anteaters would get. Buckets from Bell, Adama Ndiaye, and Hull quickly bumped the lead back up to 12. In the end, UCSB outscored UCI 11-2 to end the game with a 15-point advantage.
Defense was the difference for the Gauchos. Ndiaye's presence in the paint caused the Anteaters problems entire game. His three rejections and seven rebounds led the defense which resulted in easy transition baskets for the offense. Erick Ashe, who was limited to five points, but he had four steals and did the bulk of the defensive work on Green. Bell, who scored five points in the game-ending 11-1 run, had nine points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
UCSB attempted only 38 shots for the game, but they hit a season-high 57.9% from the floor. UCI, on the other hand, was limited to 35.4% from the field. UCSB outrebounded the Anteaters 30-19. Perhaps the most amazing statistic in the game was the fact that there were only 11 free throw attempts, nine by the Gauchos and two by the Anteaters.
Santa Barbara, winners of six of its last seven, return to action next weekend when they hit the road to play at Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, February 17 at 7:00 p.m. They play at UC Irvine on Saturday, February 19 in another 7:00 p.m. game.