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COLLEGE BASKETBALL : Toreros Try to Go 4-0 Against Santa Barbara

With decisive victories over Lehigh, 24th-ranked New Mexico and Cal Lutheran, the University of San Diego men’s basketball team has equaled its best start since the Toreros became a Division I school in 1979-80.

Coach Hank Egan’s 1984-85 team also started 3-0 before losing to San Diego State.

Tonight at 5, with a Prime Ticket audience looking on, USD will be hard pressed to make it four in a row when it plays at UC Santa Barbara. But as New Mexico can attest, USD has been full of surprises early in this basketball season.

With only two seniors and one junior, Egan has liberally used seven underclassmen, including three freshmen, in the victories. And they have produced.

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Sophomore center Dondi Bell (12 points per game) is second to junior Craig Cottrell (14) in scoring and leads the team in rebounding (9.7 per game) and blocked shots (6).

Freshmen guards Gylan Dottin (11.3 points per game) and Wayman Strickland (10) give USD four players averaging in double figures. Senior guard Danny Means is averaging 9.

UCSB is 2-0, both 1-point victories. The Gauchos defeated Colorado (71-70) in their season opener and Thursday held on for a 95-94 victory over Loyola Marymount in a game that matched California’s only two entrants in last season’s NCAA tournament.

In Lehigh, New Mexico and UCSB, the Toreros will have faced three NCAA tournament teams in their first four games.

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Santa Barbara is led by junior guard Charrick DeHart, who is averaging 25 points per game.


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