The UCSB men’s basketball team (15-3, 5-1 Big West) were back in The Thunderdome for a weeknight showdown as the Gauchos took on the Matadors of Cal State Northridge for a Big West contest. When these two teams face one another, the Gauchos have the series 45-21.
After 40 minutes of play, the Gauchos were the ones to come out with a dominant win, taking down CSUN 72-52 to go up to a 5-1 record in The Big West.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Gauchos came out strong against the Matadors, taking an early lead and running with it. The Gauchos went up by as much as 10 in the first half before the Matadors made a fight back. UCSB tried to hold them off, but CSUN continued to close the gap. After the first 20 minutes of play, the Gauchos had a slight lead over the Matadors with a score of 34-29.
At the half, Ajay Mitchell was already an instrumental force in this one. He already registered 14 points while going six-for-eight from the field. Along with that, he distributed the ball well to his teammates on offense, racking up three assists.
Once the Gauchos came back onto the court for the second half, they came out with a new passion. They went on an 18-3 run over the visitors to give them a very comfortable lead with just 10 minutes left in the game. UCSB kept it up by not letting the Matadors score a field goal in over seven minutes as they grew their lead even more. By the end of the second half, UCSB earned an impressive 72-52 victory over CSUN.
LOOKING AT THE NUMBERS
– Mitchell finished the game with the most points for the Gauchos, registering 18 while making 73 percent of his shots. Along with that, he helped his teammates score by adding on six assists.
– Miles Norris continues to be a huge force for the Gauchos. He finished the game with 17 points while also contributing four blocks. Not only that, but he added on five rebounds and two steals.
– Cole Anderson had another great night, recording double-digit points in his third straight game as he notched 11 points.
– Koat Keat Tong crashed the boards hard with a new career-high 11 rebounds, five of which were offensive.
– Calvin Wishart may not have scored the most points, but he was instrumental to the team’s offensive efforts. He finished the night with six assists while tallying seven points, shooting 100 percent from the free throw line. He was also tied for the most assists on the team with three.
The Gauchos will be back in The Thunderdome tonight, this time taking on the Roadrunners of Cal State Bakersfield. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. with a live stream available through ESPN+ and live stats through ucsbgauchos.com.
Kristen Keller is the associate athletic director for communications and digital strategy at UCSB.