Men's Basketball Take Two Game Winning Streak Into Big West Play Thursday

Jan. 12, 2000

The Schedule
Game No. 12
Thursday, January 13, 2000, 5:30 p.m. (PST)

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at North Texas Mean Green
at UNT's Super Pit

Game No. 13
Saturday, January 15, 2000, 9:00 p.m. (PST)

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at New Mexico State Aggies
at NMSU's Pan American Center

Gauchos On The Tube
UCSB's game at New Mexico State on Saturday will be televised on ESPN 2 (channel 35 in Santa Barbara). This will be UCSB's first appearance on ESPN or ESPN 2 since the 1997-98 season. The Gauchos will also be televised on ESPN (the original) when they travel to Pacific on Thursday, January 27.

More TV Stuff
UCSB's home game against Long Beach State on Thursday, March 2 has been moved from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to accomodate Fox Sports. The game between the Gauchos and 49ers will be televised on Fox Sports Net 2 in the Southern California area as well many other Fox outlets throughout the west.

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters Big West Conference action with an overall record of 4-7. After opening the year with an 0-4 mark, the Gauchos have put together a 4-3 record, including two victories in a row, to enter league play at 4-7.

The Last Game
UCSB won its second game in a row on Saturday, defeating St. Mary's by a score of 68-57. The two game winning streak is the longest of the season for the Gauchos. UCSB built a five-point halftime lead despite shooting only 34.5% from the field. In the second half, the Gauchos cranked it up offensively, shooting 54.0% from the floor, their second best mark on the year, and outscoring the Gaels by six. UCSB also made 6-for-12 from three-point range in the second half of the game to wind up with the 11-point victory. Santa Barbara had four players finish in double-figures, led by guard Erick Ashe who had 17 points. Forward Adama Ndiaye produced his second double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds. In addition, the Gauchos outrebounded St. Mary's 44-33 and it was the eighth straight game in which UCSB had either tied or had more rebounds than its opponent.

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 11 games this season, Williams' Gaucho record is now 19-20 and his overall record as a college coach is 208-120. His teams have won either a league, division or National Championship in five straight seasons.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Derrick Allen - Has averaged 6.0 assists in the last two games.
G - Erick Ashe - Has averaged 16.7 points in the last three games.
G - LaRon Bryant - Scored career-high 15 in first start of his career at LMU.
F - Mark Hull - After 4 double-figure games, he has had single digits in last five.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Had second double-double, 13 points and 13 boards vs. SMC.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Brandon Payton - Has hit 15-of-31 shots in last five games, 48.4%.
G - B.J. Ward - Hit both of his field goal attempts in win over St. Mary's.
G - Larry Bell - Passed off for season-best five assists against St. Mary's.
G - Matt Long - Freshman walkon has yet to play in a game.
F - Juliano Jordani - 12 of his 19 field goals on the season are three-pointers.
F - Mike Vukovich - Averaging 14.4 rebounds per 40 minutes, best on the team.
F - Ross Carmichael - Had four rebounds in only six minutes at LMU.

The Percentage Game: It Makes A Difference
Virtually all season, UCSB has struggled with its shooting. On the year the Gauchos are making only 37.5% of their shots...and that is the high-water mark. For the first time this season, UCSB has made 40.0% of its shots or more in three straight games. In a December 21 loss to BYU, the Gauchos made exactly 40.0% from the field. In a win at Loyola Marymount on January 5, they drilled 40.7% from the floor and then in Saturday's game against St. Mary's they made 43.9%. Overall, in the last three games, the Gauchos have canned 65-of-156 shots, 41.7%. Granted, 41.7% is not going to get them in the NCAA record books, but it is better than the 35.0% they were shooting prior to the recent spell. In addition, the Gauchos have limited their last five opponents to 38.5% or worse. In fact, two of the last three opponents have made below 30.0% from the field. Over the last five encounters, UCSB has limited its opponents to 53-of-168 from the field, a meager 31.5%. On the year, Gaucho opponents have made better than 40.0% their field goals only four times in 11 games. They have held seven opponents to below 40.0% from the floor and they have limited three opponents (Stanford, BYU and St. Mary's) to below 30.0% from the field.

Ashe Inches Up
Senior guard Erick Ashe is a very important part of the Gaucho offensive arsenal. In the first three games of the season, he scored a total of 12 points, 4.0 per game. That was not going to get it done. Since then, Ashe has picked up the pace. While his shooting has had its ups and downs, he has become the team's most consistent scorer. He has scored in double-figures six times in the last eight games, averaging 14.3 points per game over that span. On the year, he is leading the team in scoring at 11.5 points per game. In the last three games he has averaged 16.7 points per game and he has made 15-of-32 shots from the field, a solid 46.9%, an improvement of 24.6% over his shooting percentage in the first eight games of the season. In fact, Ashe has become UCSB's most proficient three-point threat as well. Since going 0-for-4 in the opener and 1-for-7 in the second game of the year (a combined 1-for-11), the senior from Los Angeles has made 18-of-65 from beyond the three-point arc, 28.0%. He has made at least one three-pointer in ten straight games and he has canned three or more in four games this season, including three of the last four games. In the last two games, Ashe has hit 3-of-7 from three-point territory...that is 3-of-7 in each game, not combined. Ashe's 6-of-14 performance from three-point range in the last two (42.9%) has led a Gaucho resurgence in that category. While he has grappled with his shooting through 11 games this season, Ashe has continued to perform solidly in other aspects of his game. He is averaging 3.1 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists per game (second on the team) and 1.4 steals per contest (second on the team).

Bryant: The Start Of Something Big
Junior guard LaRon Bryant has made the most of his opportunity in the starting lineup. In two games since he entered the starting lineup, the Gauchos have gone a perfect 2-0. In those two games, they have made 15-of-38 shots from beyond the three-point arc, a solid 39.5%. It is no accident that Bryant has helped to lead the three-point charge by hitting 6-of-11 shots from three-point territory in the last two games, 54.5%. Since starting the season by missing his first ten three-point attempts, the product of American River College in Sacramento has made 15-of-32 triples, an outstanding 46.9%. In the last two games, he has averaged 13.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Bryant has made at least one three-point bucket in five straight games and over that span he has gone a sizzling 11-for-21, 52.4%. He has had four games of at least three three-pointers this year and his 15 successful threes on the year rank him second on the squad.

Ndiaye Doubles Up...Again
After a slow start to the 1999-2000 season, junior forward Adama Ndiaye has become one of UCSB's most dependable player. He enters the week with averages of 9.3 points and a team-leading 7.6 rebounds per game. He is the leading shooter on the team and, in fact, is the lone starter making better than 50.0%. In the win over St. Mary's, Ndiaye produced his second double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds. He also had a pair of blocked shots and Ndiaye's 14 blocked shots on the year is also a team-best. In the last seven games, Ndiaye has truly emerged, averaging 11.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots per game. Over that span, the native of Dakar, Senegal has made 31-of-52 shots from the field, a solid 59.6%. Finally, he had a career-high 16 rebounds in a win over Concordia, ten coming on the offensive end, the second highest offensive rebound total in school history. Ndiaye has been in double-figures in rebound three times this season and he has had seven or more seven times. He has scored ten or more points five times, all in the last seven.

For Whom Bell Toils
Since being reinstated to the team for last week's game in Los Angeles against Loyola Marymount, guard Larry Bell has not averaged 30 points and 15 assists, but it is no accident that the Gauchos are 2-0 in the two games he has played. In his first game, at LMU, Bell had seven points, two rebounds and a pair of steals. In the win over St. Mary's, he had two points, five assists, two rebounds and two steals. In each game, Bell's numbers were modest, but his contribution was major. The senior from Compton totaled 35 minutes in his first two games, coming off the bench in both games, but each time he was in the contest down the stretch with the game on the line. Last year, UCSB turned its season completely around when Bell entered the starting lineup, going 10-3 in his 13 starts to end the year.

The Opponents
The Gauchos and North Texas have played three times, all in Big West play over the last three seasons, and the Mean Green has won all three contests. UNT defeated UCSB last season by a score of 87-73 in Santa Barbara. As is the case against North Texas, the Gauchos have struggled mightily against New Mexico State. UCSB has a career mark of 11-20 against the Aggies, including a pair of losses last year. The Gauchos lost at Las Cruces during the regular season by a score of 83-61 (their worst loss of the season) and then they dropped a 78-67 decision in the semifinals of the Big West Tournament. The last time the Gauchos defeated NMSU was during the 1997-98 season when they won by a score of 51-49 on a Brandon Payton jumper from the corner as time ran out.

The Gauchos Rebound
After being outrebounded in each of its first three games, the UCSB has outrebounded seven opponents and tied one in the last seven games. In the first three contests, opponents outrebounded the Gauchos by an average of 6.3 boards per game and in the last eight games, UCSB has outrebounded its opponents by 65 rebounds, an average of 8.1 per game.

The Ratio Improves
On the assist to turnover ratio front for the Gauchos, there is good news and there is bad news. The bad news is that UCSB has had more assists than turnovers in only three of 11 games this season. The good news is that they have had more assists than turnovers in each of the last two games, their first such streak of the season. In the win at Loyola Marymount, the Gauchos had 16 assists and 13 turnovers and in the win over St. Mary's they had 21 assists, their second highest total of the campaign, and only 14 turnovers. Thus, in the last two games, UCSB has had 37 total assists and 17 turnovers. In the two games prior to that, they totaled 21 turnovers and a massive 50 turnovers.

Payton Place
Junior guard Brandon Payton must get motion sickness. The guy lives on a rollercoaster. Last year, this year, it doesn't matter, he is up and down. In his last four games he has scored 18, 2, 1 and 11 points. In a loss at San Diego State he had a season-best 18 points. He followed that up with a two-point performance against BYU and then an eight minute, one-point effort at Loyola Marymount. And just when it looked like Payton would lose much of his playing time to the reinstated Larry Bell, he came out and had a very good game against St. Mary's, making 5-of-9 from the field (including a three-pointer) and finishing with 11 points. In addition, he had a season-best five rebound sand a season-best four assists in only 18 minutes of action. In fact, on the year, Payton is now shooting 36.2% from the field, a figure that won't get him into the record book any time soon, but considering he was shooting a mere 26.3% after six games, 36.2% is not bad. Over the last five games he has made 15-of-31 shots from the field, a solid 48.4%.

Next Up
Following the road trip to North Texas and New Mexico State, the Gauchos will return home for a pair of games. UCSB hosts Utah State on Thursday, January 20 at 7:00 p.m. and then they host Nevada at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 22. Both games will be at the Thunderdome.