Jan. 11, 2001
Fullerton, Calif. -
They may have been free, but in Thursday night's 74-71 win at Cal State Fullerton, free throws were extremely valuable to UC Santa Barbara.
After building a 54-41 lead with ten minutes left in the game, the Gauchos had to win it at the free throw line, going 4-for-4 in the final 14 seconds and 28-of-34 in the game. UCSB fell behind 71-70 when Fullerton's Ike Harmon scored on a lay-up after coming up with a loose ball on the fullcourt press. After a timeout, UCSB got the ball in bounds and they went to Mark Hull, who was fouled with 14 seconds remaining. Hull, hit both of his free throws to help the Gauchos reclaim the lead, 72-71.
Following another timeout, the Titans brought the ball in and guard Chris Smith went coast-to-coast, penetrated and got two shots off and both were blocked, the first by freshman Nick Jones and the second by Hull. Juliano Jordani came down with the rebound and threw the outlet to freshman Branduinn Fullove, who was intentionally fouled. Like Hull, Fullove hit both of this free throws to ice the three-point victory.
In addition to making 28-of-34 free throws, an outstanding 82.4%, the Gauchos hit 21-of-43 field goals, 48.8%, and 4-of-7 from three-point range, 57.1%.
UCSB was led by Fullove who made 13-of-14 and finished with a game-high and career-high 22 points. Jones made 5-of-8 shots from the field, including both of his three-point attempts and all three of his free throws, to finish with 15. Jones also pulled down a career-high seven rebounds. Hull, who also hit a key lay-up with 1:04 remaining, finished with 13 points. Mike Vukovich scored ten points and finished with a game-high eight rebounds. The Gauchos outrebounded Fullerton 37-26, but they also committed 17 turnovers to the Titans 12.
The win is the Gauchos' third in a row and it gives them a 5-7 overall record and a 2-0 mark in the Big West. The victory was also their first road win of the season after an 0-5 start.
UCSB returns to Big West play on Saturday night when they travel to UC Irvine for a 7:00 p.m. game against the league -leading Anteaters.