Jan. 27, 2001
Santa Barbara, Calif. -
What a difference a couple of days make.
Two days after playing one of its worst games of the season in a 66-56 home loss to UC Irvine, the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos played its best game of the year in a 94-69 thrashing of Cal State Fullerton.
Scored the first points of the game on a jumper by Kevin Richardson, but that was the last time they would be close. UCSB went on a 7-0 run to take a 7-2 lead and after that the lead never dropped below four.
Junior forward Mike Vukovich hit a short jump hook to end the first half and give UCSB a 47-32 lead. In the second half, the Gauchos continued to roll offensively, building their lead to as many as 28 points before settling for a 25-point margin.
"I thought the fact that we had five guys in double-figures was the key," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "We got contributions from so many players off the bench and that is something we haven't been doing. Also, the fact that we had as many assists as we did meant we were reversing the ball, looking for the open man and running our offense. That was also a good sign."
The five players in double-digits were led by freshman forward Casey Cook who had a career-high 14 points. Cook made 6-of-9 shots from the field enroute to the 14. In addition, freshman guard Branduinn Fullove had 13 points and team-high six assists. Sophomore forward Mark Hull also had 13 points while senior guard LaRon Bryant and senior forward Juliano Jordani each added 11. Jordani led the Gauchos with seven rebounds.
For the game, UCSB shot 55.7% from the field and they had 26 assists in 34 baskets and six players had at least three assists. They also outrebounded the Titans, 37-28.
At one point in the game, with just under five minutes to go, the Gauchos had five freshmen on the court for the second time this season. They had guard Fullove, Jacoby Atako and Nick Jones and forwards Cook and J.J. Todd.
The win snaps a four game losing streak for UCSB. The Gauchos improve to 6-11 overall and 3-4 in the Big West. They are tied with Boise State for fifth in the league. UCSB returns to action on Thursday, February 1 when they travel to Long Beach State for a 5:30 p.m. game that will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net 2.