Men's Basketball Looks To Extend Winning Streak On The Road At Cal State Fullerton & UC Irvine

Feb. 17, 2000

The Schedule
Game No. 22
Thursday, February 17, 2000, 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal State Fullerton Titans
at CSUF's Titan Gymnasium

Game No. 23
Saturday, February 19, 2000, 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Irvine Anteaters
at UCI's Bren Center

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters this week's games with a 10-11 overall record and a 6-4 mark in Big West play. After opening the league schedule with an 0-3 record, the Gauchos have won four straight and six of their last seven games. Over that span, they have won road games at Pacific and Cal Poly and they have defeated Nevada, Idaho, Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine at the Thunderdome. The lone loss in the last five games was at front-running Long Beach State. In fact, since opening the year at 0-4, UCSB is actually over the .500 mark overall with a record of 10-7 and since they were 4-10, they have gone 8-4.

UCSB Extends Streak To Season-Long Four Games
With their sweep of games at home against Cal State Fullerton (81-53) and UC Irvine (55-40) last weekend, the Gauchos have now put together a four game winning streak, their longest of the season. In fact, the four game streak equals the longest streak that UCSB put together last year. The last time the Gauchos won more than four games in succession was in 1992-93 when they closed the regular season with four wins in a row and then won their first round game in the Big West Tournament. On Thursday at Cal State Fullerton UCSB will look to match that five game streak. The last time UCSB won six or more in a row was when they opened the 1992-93 season with six straight victories.

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 21 games this season, Williams' Gaucho record is now 25-24 and his overall record as a college coach is 214-124. His teams have won either a league, division or National Championship in five straight seasons.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Derrick Allen - Has had at least one steal in eight straight, totaling 20.
G - Erick Ashe - Has at least one three-point basket in 20 consecutive games.
G - Larry Bell - Has averaged 8.3 assists in the last three games.
F - Mark Hull - Averaged 14.3 ppg and shot 62.1% in the last three games.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Has blocked 20 shots in the last seven games.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Brandon Payton - Has been in double-figures in six of the last eight games.
G - B.J. Ward - In the last three games, he has hit 6-of-7 shots, 85.7%.
G - Matt Long - Walkon guard has played in two games.
G - LaRon Bryant - In his last seven, he has made 11-of-20 three-pointers, 55.0%.
F - Juliano Jordani - Missed the last two games with a sore lower back.
F - Mike Vukovich - Has played only 32 minutes in the last nine games.
F - Ross Carmichael - Has taken only 17 shots in 126 minutes.

Jordani's Return Probable
Junior forward Juliano Jordani was forced to sit out the last two games with a strained lower back. Jordani, who missed two games earlier in the season with an ankle sprain. He is averaging 6.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Although he is shooting only 30.9% overall and 37.0% from three-point range, his numbers are much better recently. In his last five games he has shot 53.3% overall and 60.0% from three-point range.

Gauchos vs. The Opposition
UCSB and Cal State Fullerton have played 45 times since the series began in 1977 and with their victory last weekend, the Gauchos hold a 23-22 edge. Last year, the Gauchos swept the series, winning in Santa Barbara by a score of 73-54 and on the road by an 80-75 count. With last week's win, they have now won three in a row in the series. UCSB and UC Irvine have played 49 times dating back to 1968 and with Saturday's win, UCSB holds a decisive 32-17 advantage. Last season, the Gauchos won both games, defeating the Anteaters in Santa Barbara, 76-61 and in Irvine, 79-68. UCSB has won six of the last seven meetings between the schools.

Shooting Turnaround Continues
In seven of its first eight games, UC Santa Barbara shot 37.7% from the field or less. Only once did they make 50.0% or better, against Westmont on December 4 when they hit exactly 50.0%. In fact, the Gauchos made 50.0% or better only one time in their first 18 games, that performance against Westmont. Through nine games, UCSB had made 37.7% of its field goals. Things have turned around, however. In the ten Big West games, the Gauchos have made 257-of-571, 45.0%. In the last three games, all home victories, UCSB has hit 84-of-156, 53.8%. They have made better than 40.0% of their shots in 11 of the last 13 games and seven in a row, better than 45.0% in five of the last seven and in each of the last three games, they have been 52.2% or better. In the most recent win over UC Irvine, the Gauchos attempted only 38 shots, but they made 22 for a season-best 57.9% from the floor. Overall, UCSB is shooting a season-high 41.1%.

On The Other Side Of The Court
On the other side of the coin, or the court, the Gauchos have been pretty solid defending the field goal attempts, whether beyond the three-point arc or inside of it. Overall, UCSB's opposition is shooting 39.0% from the field (40.0% in Big West games) and they are shooting only 28.9% from three-point range and both figures lead the Big West Conference. UCSB has held its opposition under 40.0% from the floor 12 times this season and under 30.0% three times (Stanford, BYU and St. Mary's). In the last three games, while the Gauchos were shooting 52.2%, their opponents were making inly 55-of-155 from the floor, 35.5% and as a result, the Gauchos won their last three games by a combined margin of 60 points, 20.0 points per game.

What The Hull?
Freshman Mark Hull is rapidly becoming one of the most pleasant surprises in the Big West Conference. In Saturday's win over UC Irvine, he scored 16 points, making 6-of-9 shots from the field. Hull has now scored in double-figures six times in the last seven games and 12 times overall. He is one of two Gauchos averaging in double-figures overall (10.5 ppg) and in Big West play, he is scoring 12.5 points per game and pulling down 4.8 rebounds per contest. At Cal Poly, when he struggled offensively scoring only six points, he set a career-best with nine rebounds. In the past seven games, Hull has also come alive from three-point range. On the year he has made 20-of-50 (40.0%) and in Big West play he has canned 13-of-27 (48.1 %), the third best mark in the league. Going a step further, in the last seven games, Hull is 11-of-18 from beyond the arc, 61.1%. As he continues to produce, Hull also moves up UCSB's Freshman Top-Ten lists, as noted in the above box. His 221 points puts him in sixth on the list.

A Bellweather
Larry Bell's statistics are not the measure of his contribution to the UCSB's success. Well, some of his statistics are. He is averaging 5.4 assists per game in Big West play, ranking him second in the league and he is shooting 62.3% from the field, tops on the Gaucho team. But still, it is not statistics that measure Bell's contribution. In Saturday's win over UC Irvine, the Anteaters closed the UCSB lead to six points late in the game and it was Bell who hit two inside shots to stretch the lead back to ten and secure the win. In the last four games, Bell is averaging 7.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game. During the three game homestand that just ended, he had nine, eight and eight assists to lead the way each time. Since Bell's return 12 games ago UCSB has gone 8-4 and since he entered the starting lineup seven games ago, the Gauchos have gone 6-1. Dating back to last season, when he became a permanent starter with 13 games left in the season, the Gauchos are 16-4 with Bell in the starting lineup.

The Numbers Game
UCSB has been on a nice run in the last seven games, going 6-1 and moving into sole possession of second place in the Western Division. Here is a breakdown of UCSB's numbers over that period of time.

Category        UCSB         Opponents
Scoring              74.4            61.7
Rebounding           36.3            31.1
Assists              130             74
Blocked Shots         29             15
Steals                63             29
3-Pointers            55             35
FG%                   48.6%          39.1%
3-Pt. FG%             43.7%          27.8%
Turnovers            110             115
Scoring margin       +12.7           -12.7
Reb. margin          +5.2            -5.2
Over the seven games, the Gauchos have eight of their 11 regulars shooting 50.0% or better and they are averaging 7.9 three-pointers per outing. In addition, in the six wins, UCSB's average margin of victory has been 17.8 points per game and they have won games by 24, 15, eight, 17, 28 points and 15 points.

Three-Point Rundown
After two games this year the Gauchos were a lousy 3-for-33 from three-point range. Suffice to say, things have turned around since then. Since they were shooting 9.1% from three-point territory after two games they have improved to 34.4% overall and a league-leading 41.0% in Big West games. In the last 19 games, UCSB is shooting a solid 36.8-percent from beyond the arc. In addition, when they made 12 treys in a loss to Long Beach State two weeks ago, it was the most made by a UCSB team since the Gauchos hit 13 in a win over Cal State Northridge in December of 1995. Last year the Gauchos never made more than seven three-point baskets in a game and this year they have hit seven or more ten times and nine more six times. They have already made more three-point baskets this year than they did last year (135 to 124) and they are averaging 6.4 per game. If they play only six more games (that would mean no Big West Tournament game) and average only 6.0 per game, they would finish the season with 171 three-point baskets and they would better the school record of 164 set in 1994-95.

On The Horizon
UCSB will play a split weekend next week. They will host Cal Poly on Wednesday, February 23 at 7:00 p.m. and then they travel to Boise State on Saturday, February 26 at 6:30 p.m.