Nov. 12, 2002
Santa Barbara, Calif. -
Forwards Thalo Green and Damien Anderson combined for nine three-pointers and 46 points to lead Team Ezybonds, a club team from Melbourne, Australia, to an 87-79 win over UC Santa Barbara in the Gauchos exhibition opener on Tuesday night.
Playing without two of its top players, junior guard Branduinn Fullove (strained left knee) and freshman guard Josh Davis (intestinal flu), UCSB fell behind 8-0 out of the gate. Ultimately the Gauchos tied the score at 10-10 and, on the strength of 13 first half points from forward Mark Hull, nine from forward Casey Cook and seven apiece from guards Cecil Brown and B.J. Ward, Santa Barbara led 45-43 at halftime.
The Gauchos, however, went ice cold in the second half. After taking a 49-43 lead on a pair of Nick Jones free throws with 18:20 remaining, UCSB was outscored 26-11 over the next ten minutes and Team Ezybonds never looked back. The Gauchos pulled to within 78-75with 1:35 to go, but they could never get closer.
With Team Ezybonds making 13-of-30 shots from three-point range and the Gauchos making just 4-of-20, including 1-of-13 in the second half, there was nothing easy about this game. After making a solid 18-of-34 (52.9%) from the field in the first half, UCSB hit just 11-of-36 (30.6%) in the second half. In addition, the Gauchos were outrebounded by a hefty 45-32 margin.
"Obviously there are some things we need to work on," commented fifth-year head coach Bob Williams. "But on the other hand, we are a better shooting team than that. We will do some things different with our post defense and we will have to rebound better, but I don't doubt that our shooting is better than what we showed tonight."
The Gauchos were led by Hull who finished with 22 points and five rebounds. Cook, playing primarily at the five spot, scored 15 points. The 6-foot-8 sophomore redshirted the 2001-02 season after partially tearing ligaments in his right thumb. In hitting 5-of-9 shots from the floor and all five of his free throws, Cook showed no lingering signs of the injury to his shooting hand. Jones added 14 points, while Ward and Brown each chipped in 11 for UCSB. Junior guard Jacoby Atako scored just three points, but he did lead the team in rebounds with seven and assists with six.
Team Ezybonds is now 3-1 on their American tour.
Santa Barbara's next outing will be the real thing. The Gauchos play Weber State in the first round of the BP Top of the World Classic at 8:00 p.m. (PST) on Friday, November 22. Both Fullove and Davis are expected back for the trip to Fairbanks, Alaska.