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Men's Basketball

UC Santa Barbara Seeks 20-Win Campaign


2017-18 Men's Basketball Release No. 15

First place UC Santa Barbara squares off against conference contenders Long Beach State and UC Davis this week, needing to defeat one of the two opponents to reach the 20-win plateau for the first time since 2009-10.



First Place Gauchos Face Big Week
UC Santa Barbara sits in first place at 8-2 in a crowded Big West, with four teams within a game and a half of the lead.  Two of those pursuers are staring the Gauchos down this week – both 7-4 in conference play – in Long Beach State and UC Davis.

The Gauchos are riding a seven-game winning streak – their second such streak of the season – and have an opportunity to notch their first 20-win season since 2013-14.  With six games remaining, UCSB is seeking to win the Big West for the first time since 2009-10 when the Gauchos were co-champions with Pacific.

Thunderdome Talk
UC Santa Barbara is 11-0 at the Thunderdome this season, the best home start in school history .  Dating back to last season, UCSB has won 12 straight at home, the program’s longest streak since reeling off 15 in a row between the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons.

Biggest Improvements
With 19 victories, UC Santa Barbara has more than three times its six-win total from 2016-17.  The +13 improvement in the win column is tops in the country.   Moreover, that +13 also ties for the fifth-best improvement in Big West history.  The record for biggest turnaround in the “W” column is +16 – shared by Utah State (1981-82 to 1982-83) and UC Davis (2013-14 to 2014-15).
On The Tube, On The Tablet
Four games will be available this week via Big West broadcast partners FOX and WatchESPN.

Wed., Feb. 14 – UC Riverside at CSUN
Thur., Feb. 15 – Hawai‘i at UC Irvine
Sat., Feb. 17 – CSUN at Cal State Fullerton

Sat., Feb. 17 – Hawai‘i at UC Riverside

UC Irvine Eyes First Place
Four schools have held the top spot in the Big West standings this season – Cal State Fullerton, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Hawai‘i.

UC Irvine has won a season-best five straight games to pull within one-half game of leader UCSB.  It’s a familiar spot for UCI to be in.  Over the last four seasons,  the Anteaters have won outright or shared three Big West regular season titles and tied for second place on the other occasion.  The Anteaters have held four opponents under 60 points during their current five-game run.  The Anteaters could overtake first place this week with a UCSB loss and wins over Hawai‘i and Cal Poly.

Schneider, Ahmad Join 1,000-Point Club
Two players joined the career milestone 1,000-point scoring club last week.  UC Davis junior Siler Schneider became the 23rd player in school history to eclipse 1,000 points, finishing the week with 1,024.  Ahmad’s 31-point effort against UC Davis on Saturday made him the 24th player in Cal State Fullerton history to reach the milestone, as he’s now at 1,022 points.  UC Santa Barbara senior Gabe Vincent (1,312) and CSUN senior Tavrion Dawson (1,130) are also part of the club.

Coach, Team Years (School/Career) School Big West Career
Dan Monson, Long Beach State 10/20 183-173 112-61 353-296
Russell Turner, UC Irvine 7/7 152-119 80-45 Same as school
Joe Callero, Cal Poly 8/18 119-156 62-79 258-286
Jim Les, UC Davis 6/15 103-112 54-55 257-252
Dedrique Taylor, Cal State Fullerton 4/4 61-86 27-48 Same as school
Eran Ganot, Hawai‘i 2/3 55-32 25-17 58-34
Reggie Theus, CSUN 4/6 44-100 22-49 85-123
Joe Pasternack, UC Santa Barbara 1/4 19-5 8-2 73-65
Justin Bell, UC Riverside 1/1 1-9 1-9 Same as school


UC RIVERSIDE AT CSUN (WatchESPN) - CSUN ended a five-game losing streak with torrid shooting in Saturday’s 77-71 win at Hawai‘i – the program’s first in Honolulu since 1998.  The Matadors shot 65.1% (28-of-43) from the field, and the trio of Tavrion Dawson (22), Micheal Warren (22) and Terrell Gomez (16) combined for 60 points.  UC Riverside (1-9) trails CSUN and Cal Poly by two games for a berth in the Big West Tournament, and a loss to the Matadors would damage their chances.  PXP: Trent Rush • ANALYST: Richie Schueler • SIDELINE: Courtney Sweet

- UC Davis looks to avoid its first three-game losing streak this season, while Cal Poly attempts to win its third straight home game.  The Aggies lost twice at home last week, ending their 19-game home court win streak, while allowing UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton to shoot a combined 55.8% (53-of-95) from the floor.  Junior TJ Shorts II is averaging 26.7 points over the last three games as leading scorer Chima Moneke continues to serve his suspension.  Cal Poly guards Donovan Fields and Victor Joseph have both scored exactly 340 points this season, and they have combined to shoot nearly 90 percent (130-of-145) from the free throw line.

- Long Beach State established an opponent season low for points in its 73-54 win against Cal Poly on Saturday.  The Mustangs were held to season-low 30.4% shooting.  LBSU’s formula for success is clear – the team has limited opponents to 40.2% (175-of-435) shooting in seven Big West wins.  Foes have shot 50.8% (131-of-258) in the Beach’s four league losses.  UC Santa Barbara is 8-0 when shooting 50% or better.  Leland King II has notched double-digit rebounds seven times in 10 conference games.

HAWAI‘I AT UC IRVINE (WatchESPN) - Hawai‘i has lost five straight Big West games for the first time since joining the conference in 2012-13.  This is the fifth straight season under head coach Russell Turner that UCI has won at least five games in a row in league play.  In conference games, UCI leads all schools in scoring margin (+8.5) and scoring defense (61.4 ppg).  UCI has outscored opponents in the paint in nine straight games, including 192-102 during its current five-game win streak.  PXP: Tim Becwar • ANALYST: Richie Schueler • SIDELINE: Courtney Sweet


Wild Card Games Selected
Three “Wild Card” selections were made for future ESPN broadcasts as the regular season enters the final three weeks of the season.

Wednesday, February 21 (ESPN3) – Cal State Fullerton at UC Riverside, 7:00 p.m. (PT)
Thursday, March 1 (ESPNU) – Long Beach State at UC Santa Barbara, 8:00 p.m. (PT)
Saturday, March 3 (ESPN3) – UC Davis at UC Irvine, 7:30 p.m. (PT)

Levin Sets Records
Long Beach State senior Gabe Levin set Big West single-game records for free throws made (24) and free throws attempted (28) in the 105-104 double overtime loss to UC Davis on Feb. 3.  He obliterated both records.  Johnny Rogers of UC Irvine held the previous free throw makes record of 18, set on Feb. 15, 1986 against UNLV.  The old free throws attempted record of 22 was jointly shared by Hawaii’s Christian Standhardinger (vs. Chaminade on Dec. 14, 2013) and Cal State Fullerton’s Leon Wood (vs. Texas-Arlington on Dec. 19, 1981). 

Levin finished the game with 45 points, tying the school record initially established by Ed Ratleff (vs. Saint Mary’s, 12/10/70) and tying for No. 5 in Big West single-game history.  Levin’s scoring output represents the most by a Big West player since Cal State Fullerton’s Bobby Brown had 46 against Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 16, 2006.

UC Santa Barbara Moves To No. 11 In CollegeInsider.Com Poll
UC Santa Barbara is ranked a season-best No. 11 in the Feb. 12 edition of the Mid-Major poll.  The Gauchos are the only Big West school represented in the poll.  They have been ranked in the top-25 for 10 straight weeks.  However, several other conference schools have been recognized in the poll this season.  UC Davis and UC Riverside have cracked the top-25 at different junctures.  Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Irvine and Hawai‘i all have received votes at some point.

Gomez Leads All Big West Freshmen In Scoring
CSUN guard Terrell Gomez leads all Big West freshmen in scoring at 11.5 points per game, which ranks him No. 19 overall conference-wide.  He is the conference’s only freshman averaging double figures in scoring.  In addition, Gomez leads all Big West players in minutes played (33.9 mpg) this season.    He has three 20-point games to his credit, including 20 against Pac-12 school California.  He also scored 24 points against Long Beach State and 20 versus Cal Poly.  Gomez has hit at least one three-pointer in 24 of 25 contests, and ranks No. 2 in the Big West with 52 made threes.  He tied his career high with four three-point makes in the Feb. 10 win at Hawai‘i – the first win in Honolulu for the Matadors in 20 years.