Dec. 3, 2003
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
UC Santa Barbara junior forward Casey Cook had a Wednesday night final exam that started at 5:00 p.m. He wasn't even sure he would get to the Gauchos' home opener against Pepperdine on time. He did make it, but more importantly for UCSB, he was there at the end.
Cook's fall-away three-pointer with less than a second to play capped a 7-0 game-ending rally and gave the Gauchos (2-2) a 65-62 win over Pepperdine (1-4) on Wednesday night in Santa Barbara.
"I was just hoping I would get here with enough time to get loose," Cook said. "Making the game-winning shot was a big time bonus."
With the score tied at 56-56, sophomore guard Joe See made a driving lay-up to give UCSB a 58-56 lead with 3:07 remaining in the game. Pepperdine guard Shaun Davis, however, responded with a three-point basket to give the Waves a 59-58 edge. After a UCSB turnover, guard Terrance Johnson hit a three-pointer from deep in the corner to put Pepperdine up 62-58 with just 2:06 to go in the game.
Gaucho sophomore forward Cameron Goettsche then hit a lay-up off of a nice driving pass from senior guard Jacoby Atako. Goettsche's basket with 1:32 remaining cut the deficit to a pair, 62-60. After a defensive stop, See missed a baseline jumper, but Goettsche slam dunked the rebound to tie the score at 62-62 with 0:37 to play.
Defensively, UCSB forced Johnson into an off-balanced shot with 13 seconds to go in the game, Goettsche got the rebound and was fouled with 11.5 seconds to go. The foul was just the sixth team foul on Pepperdine so the Gauchos got the ball out of bounds at the baseline in the backcourt.
Santa Barbara ran a play for Cook. The team's leading scorer entering the game, he took the ball near the free throw line and drove down the lane, but with 4.5 seconds left, the ball was knocked out of bounds by the Waves' Glen McGowan. After a timeout, UCSB got the ball into See, who drove into the lane and found Cook just to the right of the top of the key and Cook made his first three-pointer of the season.
"That was a big, big shot by Casey," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "He really stepped-up at the end."
Williams was just as pleased with the Gauchos' defense down the stretch.
"That was a great shot to end the game," he said. "But it was all possible because we were able to get three straight defensive stops. The job we did at the defensive end in the last couple of minutes really set the stage for the ending."
UCSB overcame a stretch of poor shooting in the early going to post the win. The Gauchos made just one of their first ten shots, but made 25-of-48 the rest of the way to finish at 44.8%. Santa Barbara also made a season-high 11 three-point baskets in the game, going 11-of-25, 44.0%.
Sophomore guard Cecil Brown kept UCSB in the game in the second half. After making just 1-of-4 shots and scoring three points in the first half, Brown scored 13 points in the second half to finish with a career-high 16 points. In the first half, it was See who got the Gauchos going, scoring 11 of his season-high 13, including three three-pointers. Goettsche played his best game scoring a career-high eight points and collecting a career-high and game-high nine rebounds. In addition, Goettsche had a spectacular block of an attempted dunk by Pepperdine's Glen McGowan.
Ironically, while Cook hit the game-winning shot, the game marked the first time in four games this season that he didn't score in double-figures. He finished with seven points. Guards Chrismen Oliver and Josh Davis also got into the three-point act with two apiece. Atako had a season-high five assists in the win and forward Bryan Whitehead had a season-high eight rebounds.
As a team, the Gauchos limited the Waves to a season-low 62 points, nearly 20 points below their average. UCSB also won the rebounding battle, 41-36.
Once again, Santa Barbara was playing without two of its top-two players. Senior guard Branduinn Fullove, the team's leading scorer last season and the returning Big West Player of the Year, remains sidelined with a left ankle injury. Senior guard Nick Jones, who averaged nearly 13 points per game last season, served the fourth game of his eight-game suspension.
UCSB will now take time off for the rest of its final exams. The Gauchos return to action on Wednesday, December 10 for a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome against Westmont College.