March 2, 2002
Santa Barbara, Calif. -
Adama Ndiaye scored 15 points and pulled down 12 rebounds while Branduinn Fullove and Mark Hull scored 18 and 16 respectively, to lead UC Santa Barbara to an 80-58 win over visiting UC Riverside on Saturday night.
The win by the Gauchos in their regular season finale, combined with Cal State Northridge's win over Utah State, gives UCSB the third seed in next week's Big West Tournament. Even if Pacific wins its final regular season game on Sunday, UCSB wins the three-way tiebreaker between themselves, Northridge and Pacific. The Gauchos will take on Cal Poly at approximately 8:30 p.m. in the first round game at the Anaheim Convention Center.
On Saturday night, UCSB trailed by as many as six points in the first five minutes, but they took a 22-21 lead with 7:23 to go in the first half and never trailed again. The Gauchos outscored the Highlanders 48-35 in the second half, including 44-23 in the final 15 minutes.
"I thought we played very well and very inspired basketball in the second half," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "I look at the stat sheet and I see us with 18 offensive rebounds and 12 steals and I know that the effort was really there."
Ndiaye had 12 rebounds in the game, three on the offensive end. Reserve forward Bray Skultety, who went without a rebound in Thursday's narrow win over Cal State Fullerton, had ten rebounds against Riverside, six on teh offensive end. In addition, the Gauchos committed just two turnovers in the second half.
UCSB had outstanding offensive balance in the game. In addition to Fullove, Ndiaye and Hull, Nick Jones finished in double-figures with ten points. Jacoby Atako had a team-high six assists and three steals, giving him nine steals in the last two games.
The Gauchos outrebounde UCR 41-34 and they outshot the Highlanders 44.4% to 37.5%.
With the win, UCSB finishes the regular season with an overall record of 17-10 and a Big West mark of 11-7. UCR finishes its season at 8-18 and 5-13 in league. The 17 wins by the Gauchos are the most that the program has had since the 1992-93 team finished 18-11.