January 8, 2004

Utah State Rallies Late to Upend UCSB in Big West Showdown, 74-67

Jan. 8, 2004

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Utah State used an 11-0 run late in the game to erase a six-point deficit and post a 74-67 win at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday night. The win was the Aggies seventh straight and it improved their overall record to 10-1 and their league mark to 2-0. UCSB drops to 7-5 overall and 1-2 in the Big West.

Utah State, which shot 56.6% as a team, was paced by guard Cardell Butler, who had 18 points, and forward Spencer Nelson who added 15, including nine in a row during the 11-0 rally. The late rally helped the Aggies overcome an outstanding performance by Gaucho guards Branduinn Fullove and Joe See. Fullove finished with a game-high 19 points and See added 15, all as a result of three-point baskets.

When Gaucho forward Cameron Goettsche scored on a put-back with 6:14 to go in the game, UCSB took a 63-57 lead and forced the Aggies to call a timeout. That's when Nelson went to work. He made back-to-back lay-ups and then a short bank shot to tie the score at 63-63 with 3:39 remaining. Following a media timeout and a missed shot by the Gauchos, the Aggies worked the ball to Nelson at the top of the three-point arc where he drilled a 20-footer to give his team a 66-63 lead. Butler capped the run with a steal and a coast-to-coast slam dunk, giving Utah State a 68-63 lead. UCSB never got closer than six the rest of the way.

See, who tied his season-highs with 15 points and five three-point baskets, kept UCSB in the game with four three-pointers in the second half. Fullove helped the Gauchos overcome a first half deficit, scoring 11 of his 19 in the final 15 minutes of the first half.

As a team, Santa Barbara shot a solid 52.0% and they went 8-of-16 from three-point range. Utah State entered the game with an average rebound margin of nearly ten per game, but UCSB won the battle of the boards 29-22. The Aggies, however, shot a sizzling 63.6% in the second half to post the win.

In addition to Fullove and See, Goettsche also scored in double-figures with ten. Senior forward Bray Skultety played a season-high 18 minutes, scoring eight points and grabbing a game-high seven rebounds.

The Gauchos return to action on Saturday night when they host Idaho in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.