SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (Jan. 19, 2023) – The UC Santa Barbara Men's Basketball team (14-3, 4-1 Big West) are back in The Thunderdome tonight for weekend of exciting Big West basketball as they welcome the Matadors of CSUN. The Gauchos control the series with a 45-21 record while defeating the Matadors the last time they played one another.
LAST TIME OUT
The Gauchos were looking to recover after a one-point loss to the UC Riverside Highlanders at home when they faced the Anteaters of UC Irvine on their home court. Even with the Anteaters' halftime lead, UC Irvine could not stop the Gauchos. UC Santa Barbara pulled ahead in this tight contest in the second half, defeating the Anteaters 72-67 for their fifth straight road win.
SCOUTING THE MATADORS
CSUN has not been able to secure a win yet in conference play despite their best efforts Most recently, the Matadors played at Hawai'i with a very tight game. The Matadors almost came out with the win but fell just seven points shy, losing 58-51 to the Rainbow Warriors. The three wins CSUN earned this season were against La Sierra, Whittier and the University of San Diego.
Atin Wright is the top player for the Matadors as he is averaging the most points per game with 13.72, which totals out to 247 throughout the season. The sophomore guard currently ranks 15th in the NCAA in when it comes to free throw percentage. He is a sharp shooter from the charity stripe with a 90.5 field goal percentage. He is one of just three players to start in all 18 games. He is also the stealthiest Matador, securing the most steals on the team with 24.
Fellow sophomore Dionte Bostick has also been an impactful player. The guard has started in all 18 games, registering 244 points per game with a total of 244 on the season.
De'Sean Allen-Eikens is the only other player to appear in every game for the Matadors. The junior is third on the team in points with 182, averaging to 10.1 per game. Not only that, but he leads the team in rebounds as he snatches 5.78 rebounds per game.
Fidelis Okereke with has been one of the most efficient shooters for the Matadors. He has appeared in all 18 games while starting in seven but has been instrumental from the field with a 51.7 field goal percentage.
The Matadors are coached by Trent Johnson, who is in his second season with the team. Prior to CSUN, Johnson coached at LSU, Stanford, TCU and Nevada. Over the course of his career, he has amassed a 286-303 record.
Coach Johnson hit the transfer portal hard once stepping into this role. Of the 17 players on his roster, seven of them are transfers from New Orleans, Murray State, Indiana State, Fordham and North Dakota, to name a few.
The Gauchos will hit the court against the Matadors tonight in The Thunderdome with a 7 p.m. tip. The game will be streamed live through ESPN+.