Feb. 7, 2002
Santa Barbara, Calif. -
Last weekend the UC Santa Barbara men's basketball team traveled to Logan, Utah and Moscow, Idaho for Big West road games. They came home with nothing more than two losses and a case of offensive frost bite.
With the sun shining in Santa Barbara all week, the Gauchos thawed-out, and it showed Thursday night as they defeated the University of the Pacific 70-57 at the Thunderdome.
On a night when he became the 18th UCSB player to hit the 1,000 point barrier for his career, junior forward Mark Hull was fittingly the star. In addition to leading both teams with 19 points, giving him 1,004 in his career, he pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds.
"I didn't set any goals for myself tonight," Hull said. "I just put the road trip behind me and played hard like I always do. It is nice to have a good game at home and it is nice to be playing at home after last weekend."
Gaucho head coach Bob Williams credited Hull's effort for the 14 rebounds.
"The ball wasn't just falling off the rim into his hands," Williams assured. "Mark was all over the court, diving after loose balls, going up strong. That is the type of game we have become used to with him."
Hull was one of four UCSB players to score in double-figures. Branduinn Fullove (12), Nick Jones (12) and B.J. Ward (ten) also hit double-digits. The four players in double-figures was a far cry from Saturday night's loss at Idaho in which no player had more than eight and the Gauchos could only muster 37 as a team. UCSB also bounced back from its worst shooting performance of the season (28.3% at Idaho) with one of its best, 53.3%. On the flip side, the Gauchos limited the Tigers to just 36.7% shooting overall, and an uncharacteristic 13.6% from three-point range.
"That is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the conference," Williams said. "I thought we did a good job of getting a hand up in general, but they also missed some open looks."
Not only did Pacific struggle from three-point range, they struggled from the free throw line. The Tigers entered the game as the Big West's best free throw shooting team at 75.3%, but on Thursday night, they hit just 10-of-19, 52.6%.
Santa Barbara jumped into the lead early and were never caught. With the score tied 2-2, the Gauchos went on a 10-0 run to take a 12-2 advantage. Pacific never got closer than six points for the rest of the first half and trailed by 13, 46-33, at the break. The 46 points scored in the first half by the Gauchos was nine more than they scored in the entire game at Idaho on Saturday.
UCSB piled-up a 17-point edge at 53-36 with 15:48 remaining in the game. Pacific, however, bounced back, outscoring the Gauchos 164 over the next nine minutes and cutting the lead to five, 57-52. UCSB responded with a 6-0 run of its own and never led by fewer than nine in the final three minutes of the game.
In addtion to his 19 points and 14 rebounds, Hull had four assists. Jacoby Atako had just five points, but he also contributed a game-high seven assists. Fullove added four assists to go with his 12 points and Jones had six rebounds to go with his 12. The Tigers were led by 5-foot-10 guard Demetrius Jackson who led them in scoring (12 points), rebounds (eight), assists (four) and steals (three).
The win snaps a two-game Gaucho losing streak. UCSB is now 13-8 overall and 7-5 in the Big West. They leap-frog over Pacific, which drops to 14-7 overall and 6-5 in the Big West. The Gauchos are now tied with Cal Poly for fourth-place in the league.
UCSB returns home on Saturday, February 9, to host Cal State Northridge, the third-place team in the league, at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.