Jan. 19, 2002
San Luis Obispo, Calif. -
Senior forward Adama Ndiaye entered Saturday night's UCSB-Cal Poly game knowing he would have to step-up in a big way for the Gauchos to have a chance.
Ndiaye stepped-up, big time.
The native of Dakar, Senegal, made 13-of-18 shots from the floor, scored a career-high 31 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and blocked three shots to lead the depleted Gauchos to a 74-67 victory over the Mustangs.
UCSB, playing without starting guard Branduinn Fullove (severe contusion on his right thigh), and reserve forward Mike Vukovich (subluxation of his right patella), played just seven players in the game, but they were enough to hand Cal Poly its first home loss of the season.
Things didn't start out so well for the Gauchos as the Mustangs jumped-out a 16-9 lead with 13:08 remaining in the first half. UCSB, however, used a devastating one-two punch of Ndiaye and Mark Hull to outscore Cal Poly 34-12 the rest of the way. In fact, at one point, the Gauchos went on a 13-0 run that gave them the lead for the first time and for good. Ndiaye and Hull combined for 38 points in the first half as UCSB took a 43-28 lead into the lockerroom.
Bryan Whitehead hit a short jumper to open the second half, giving the Gauchos their biggest lead of the game, 45-38. UCSB again led by 17 when Ndiaye hit a pair of free throws with 19:10 remaining, but then the Mustangs started to chip away, outscoring the Gauchos 10-1 over the next four minutes to cut the gap to eight, 48-40. The lead hovered between six and 11 for six minutes, but when David Henry drained a long three-pointer with 6:42 left in the game, it was down to three, 59-56.
UCSB responded again and Ndiaye capped a 7-0 run with a thunderous slam dunk at the 2:54 mark, giving the Gauchos a 67-56 lead.
The Mustangs outscored UCSB 11-7 the rest of the way, but it was too little, too late.
In addition to making 13-of-18 field goals, Ndiaye made all five of his free throws. Hull finished with 22 points, making 4-of-6 shots from three-point range, but he was limited to three points in the second half. Whitehead and Nick Jones scored seven apiece. The Gauchos outrebounded Cal Poly, the league's second best rebounding team, 36-26.
The Mustangs were paced by sophomore center Varnie Dennis, who made 11-of-15 shots from the field an finished with 27 points and seven rebounds. Cal Poly, however, was limited to 4-of-27 from three-point range as the Gauchos did an outstanding job of defending the perimeter.
UCSB is now 11-5 overall and 5-2 in the Big West. The Gauchos are tied with Cal State Northridge for second place in the Big West after the Matadors upset UC Irvine in overtime on Saturday night.
UCSB returns to action on Thursday, January 24 to host UC Irvine in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.