Dec. 28, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. -
The UC Santa Barbara basketball team can't wait to get home.
Since playing their last regular season home game on December 3, a win over USC, the Gauchos have lost five games in a row, all away from home, the latest a 67-60 setback to Bucknell in the third-place game of the azcentral.com/ASU Hoops Classic in Tempe, Arizona.
UCSB got off the a slow start in the loss to the Bison, trailing 9-0 before Mark Hull made his first of five three-point baskets with 14:51 to go. Hull's three-pointer started 22-6 run that gave the Gauchos a 22-15 lead with 5:29 remaining in the first half. Bucknell, however, outscored Santa Barbara 12-4 over the next 5:20, to reclaim the lead at 27-26. Gaucho guard Branduinn Fullove ended the first half with a three-pointer as time ran out, giving his team a 29-27 lead at the break.
UCSB led for much of the second half. Bucknell tied the score at 38 apiece with 11:32 to go on a pair of free throws by Matt Quinn, but Fullove responded with a three-pointer giving the Gauchos a 41-38 advantage. Hull made it 43-38 with 9:37 remaining on a breakaway lay-up off of a steal by Jacoby Atako, but things went downhill from there.
Over the next 2:30, Bucknell went on a 10-0 run to take a 48-43 lead. The 10-0 run was aided by a technical foul that was called on Hull. After Bison guard Charles Lee scored on a driving lay-up with 8:22 to go, the referees whistled Hull for a technical, saying he pushed a Bison player before the inbounds play. Bucknell's Chris Rodgers made a pair of technical free throws and the Bison took over possession of the ball and after another Gaucho foul, Dan Blankenship hit two more free throws to make it 46-43. Boakai Lalugba capped the rally as he had started it, with a powerful lay-up, giving Bucknell a 48-43 edge.
Fullove scored on a floating jumper with 5:28 remaining, cutting the Bison advantage to 50-49, but despite a three-point barrage from Hull and Fullove, the Gauchos never got closer than that.
Hull and Fullove led the Gauchos, 3-7, with 20 and 18 points respectively. Hull made 7-of-10 shots from the field, including 5-of-7 from three-point territory. Fullove was 7-for-14 and 4-of-5 from beyond the three-point arc. As a team, UCSB made 45.7% of its field goals, but turned the ball over 17 times. Bucknell, 5-5, outscored the Gauchos from the free throw line by a margin of 16-8. The Gauchos stayed in the game by hitting ten three-point baskets.
UCSB returns home to host UC Riverside in the Big West Conference opener for both teams on Thursday, January 2 at 7:00 p.m. The game at the Thunderdome will mark the Gauchos first home appearance in 30 days.