March 6, 2004
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Led by four seniors playing their final home game, UC Santa Barbara exploded out of the gate on Saturday night and never looked back, defeating Long Beach State 89-61.
Behind 20 points from senior Nick Jones and 14 from senior Branduinn Fullove, the Gauchos jumped out to a 12-point lead in the first five minutes and cruised from there. The win improves Santa Barbara to 16-11 overall and 10-8 in the Big West. The victory also gives the Gauchos a third-place league finish as they passed Idaho on the final weekend. Long Beach finished the season at 6-21 overall and 4-14 in league.
Fullove and Jones were joined in the starting lineup by fellow seniors Jacoby Atako and Bryan Whitehead. Atako finished with seven points and six assists and Whitehead had five points and a game-high eight rebounds
Jones finished with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor. He connected on 4-of-7 three-pointers and also pulled down a season-high seven rebounds. Fullove hit 4-of-6 three-point baskets as the Gauchos made a season-high 12 as a team.
The underclassmen were not completely left out in the win. Freshman Glenn Turner had a career-high nine points and five rebounds. Sophomore Cameron Goettsche had seven points and seven rebounds and junior guard Chrismen Oliver had six points and five assists.
As a team, the Gauchos connected on 34-of-63 shots from the floor, 54.0%, and an impressive 12-of-23 from behind the arc, 52.2%. UCSB outrebounded Long Beach State 46-29, and tallied 25 assists to LBSU's 15.
Next up for the Gauchos will be the second round of the annual Big West Tournament. UCSB will take the floor on Thursday, March 11 at the Anaheim Convention Center. The third-place league finish gives Santa Barbara bye in the first round. The first round will be played on Wednesday night and UCSB will play the lowest remaining seed on Thursday night.