Feb. 13, 2003
STOCKTON, Calif. -
On Thursday night at Pacific, UC Santa Barbara's leading scorer, Branduinn Fullove suffered a concussion in the opening minute and was forced to the bench for the rest of the game. Second-leading scorer Mark Hull suffered through his worst offensive game of the season.
And the Gauchos won?
UCSB parlayed another inspired defensive effort with outstanding play from several members of the supporting cast into a 62-52 road win over the Tigers. The win was the Gauchos third in a row and seventh in the last eight games.
Of all the performances by the "other" Gauchos, the one that stood out the most was the effort of freshman guard Cecil Brown. In 21 minutes, Brown scored a career-high 16 points, pulled down five rebounds and had a steal. He made 2-of-3 shots from three-point range and 5-of-9 overall.
"Cecil was great tonight," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "I thought he really helped pick us up on both ends of the floor. His play really inspired us and when he plays with confidence, that's what he can do."
Brown's effort may have stood out, but it wasn't the only one that led to the win. Junior guard Nick Jones scored 15 points and had a team-high eight rebounds. He scored nine of his points in the first half to get the Gauchos off on the right foot. In fact, after Pacific scored the first basket of the game on a fastbreak lay-up by Jasko Korajkic, Jones scored seven to give UCSB a 7-2 lead and the Gauchos never trailed again.
Santa Barbara led 29-25 at halftime and with 19:11 to go in the game, Hull made his only shot of the game, a three-pointer from deep in the corner. He finished the game 1-for-9 from the field with five points, but his three-pointer to open the half gave the Gauchos a seven-point lead and Pacific never pulled closer than four points the rest of the way.
UOP's Tim Johnson scored on a lay-up with 17:42 remaining in the game cutting the Gaucho lead to 34-30, but neither team scored again until Casey Cook made a 15-foot jump shot with 13:31 left, giving UCSB a 36-30 advantage. Ater two more defensive stops by UCSB, Brown hit the first of his first of two three-point shots increasing the lead to nine, 39-30.
Tiger guard Miah Davis responded with the first of three three-point baskets, pulling his team back to within six, but after a pair of free throws by Jones and a steal by Gaucho forward Bryan Whitehead, it was Brown again, hitting a three-pointer from above the top of the key, giving UCSB an 11-point lead, 44-33, with 11:00 to go.
"Those back-to-back three-pointers really gave us a lift," Williams said. "That was a pivotal point in the game because I don't think Pacific was ever able to get the momentum back."
After a short jumper by Miah Davis pulled the Tigers within nine, the Gauchos responded again. Whitehead scored on a power-move under the hoop, Brown scored on a lay-up and then he came-up with a steal that led to a difficult fastbreak lay-in by Chrismen Oliver. Oliver's bucket capped a 6-0 outburst and gave Santa Barbara its biggest lead of the night, 50-35.
Pacific would pull to within six points at 54-48 with 1:51 to go, but the Gauchos made 8-of-9 free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
In addition to the outstanding efforts by Brown and Jones, UCSB received major contributions from forward Casey Cook (3-for-3 from the field and eight points), guard Josh Davis (seven points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals) and Bryan Whitehead (two points, six rebounds, one assist, one steal and one blocked shot). Defensively, the Gauchos limited Pacific to 35.4% shooting overall, 30.6% in the second half. Additionally, UCSB held the Tigers, a 40.0% three-point shooting team in Big West play, to just 4-of-23 from beyond the arc, 17.4%. Also, the Gaucho backcourt put the clamps on UOP's leading scorer, Demetrius Jackson. Jackson entered the game averaging 16.0 points per game but went scoreless on Thursday night, missing all seven of his field goal attempts.
The win was the Gauchos' third in a row and seventh in the last eight games and coupled with Utah State's 59-58 home loss to UC Irvine, gives UCSB a one-game lead in the Big West standings. The Gauchos are 9-3 in league, a full game ahead of 8-4 Utah State and UC Irvine. Overall, UCSB is two-games over the .500 mark for the first time this season at 12-10. Pacific drops to 11-9 overall and 6-5 in league.
UCSB returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Cal State Northridge for a 7:00 p.m. game at the Matadome.