Feb. 20, 2000
Irvine, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara dug itself a deep hole at UC Irvine on Saturday night, falling behind 53-34 with 11 minutes remaining, and although they held the Anteaters without a field goal for the final 6:57, they were unable to climb all the way back, losing 61-58 to snap a season-long five game winning streak.
The Gauchos could not overcome their poorest shooting performance in several games. UCSB hit only 21-of-62 shots overall and 4-of-22 from three-point range in the loss. They made only 30.0% from the floor in the first half, going 9-for-30 as they fell behind 32-21.
Trailing by 19 with 11 minutes remaining, the Gauchos outscored UCI 24-8 to close the game. Reserve guard LaRon Bryant came off the bench to score ten points in the second half, including eight during the 24-8 run, but it was not enough. With the score 60-58, the Gauchos called a timeout and worked the ball to leading scorer Erick Ashe for a three-point attempt at the to the right of the top of the key. Ashe's attempt caromed off the back of the rim. UCI's Ben Jones pulled down the rebound with 4.2 seconds remaining and was immediately fouled by Derrick Allen. Jones made the first end of the one-and-one, but missed the second, giving the Gauchos one last chance. Larry Bell came down with the rebound and brought the ball up court, letting loose with a leaning three-point attempt as the horn sounded. Bell's shot rimmed in and out and the game was over.
Adama Ndiaye, who fouled out with 6:35 left in the game, led the Gauchos with 11 points. Mark Hull and Bryant each added ten for UCSB. Mike Vukovich scored eight points in 14 minutes, the most points he has scored in a Big West game this season. The Anteaters were paced by forward Marek Ondera who had 23 points and 13 rebounds. Guard Malachi Edmond had 20 points.
Ashe, the Gauchos' leading scorer on the season, was held to eight points on 3-of-12 from the field overall and 2-of-12 from three-point territory. Brandon Payton, who scored a career-high 28 points in Thursday's win at Cal State Fullerton, was 3-for-10 from the floor and he scored seven points.
With the loss, UCSB drops to 11-12 overall and 7-5 in the Big West. They remain in second place, two games ahead of third-place Pacific, which lost at Utah State on Saturday night. The Gauchos return to action on Wednesday when they host Central Coast rival Cal Poly in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.