Nov. 25, 2000
Provo, Utah -
For the second time in as many road games, the UC Santa Barbara men's basketball team fell behind by double-digits in the second half, mounted a furious rally to get close and then ultimately lost to a deeper, healthier opponent.
On Saturday, it was BYU that defeated the Gauchos, 67-53 at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.
Trailing 31-26 after Mark Hull hit a 15-foot jumper to open the second half, the Gauchos watched the Cougars go on an 8-0 run to extend the lead to 39-26 with 15:33 remaining in the game. After a timeout, UCSB began its rally.
Mike Vukovich got things going with 14:09 remaining as he sealed-off his defender, Mekeli Wesley, and hit a layup. Just 14-seconds later, Hull drained a three-pointer from the top of the key to make the score 39-31. BYU's Travis Hansen responded with a three-pointer to extend the lead back to 11 at 42-31. Then, much as he did in the second half of Tuesday's overtime loss to USF, B.J. Ward took over.
At the 11:00 mark, Ward shook his defender and drove down the center of the lane for a layin over Wesley's outstretched arm. Less than half a minute later, he drove past his defender again, went baseline and made another layup. With 9:17 left, Vukovich drilled a short jump hook to narrow the score to 42-37 and then with 8:51 left, it was Ward's turn again as he burned his defender again, driving the lane and hitting a layup to make the score 42-39, BYU.
Following a Cougar turnover, the Gauchos brought the ball up court, looking the cut into the three-point lead, but then, there was a turning point.
Freshman guard Jacoby Atako, joining Ward in the backcourt after Nick Jones suffered an ankle injury midway through the second half, took the ball on the left side of the key, free throw line extended. Atako had the ball knocked away by Cougar star Terrell Lyday who hit guard Matt Montague with a lead pass. Montague went in for a layup and once again the lead was five and the momentum belonged to BYU.
When the Cougars' 13-4 lead was complete with 4:49 to go, the lead was a comfortable 55-43 and the Gauchos never pulled closer than ten after that.
UCSB was paced by Hull who scored a career-high 21 points. For the second straight game, Ward scored in double-figures, finishing with ten points. Vukovich lead UCSB with eight rebounds to go along with his eight points. He played a career-best 27 minutes before fouling out for the third game in a row. BYU was led by Lyday who had 21 points and Wesley who finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots.
The Gauchos, now 0-3 on the season, return to action on Wednesday, November 29 when travel to Westwood to take on the UCLA Bruins in a 7:30 game. The Bruin-Gaucho contest will be carried live on Fox Sports Net 2.