Feb. 1, 2001
LONG BEACH, Calif. - At halftime of its game at Long Beach State Thursday night, UC Santa Barbara trailed the 49ers by 11 points, 37-26.
With 16:09 to go in the game, the Gauchos trailed by 11 points, 45-34.
With 14:13 remaining, , they trailed by 11 points, 48-37.
With 11:55 to go, UCSB trailed by 11 points, 53-42.
With 10:03 on the clock, the 49ers led by 11 points, 57-46.
When Long Beach guard Ron Johnson hit a layup, was fouled and made a free throw, he once again put his team up by 11 with 8:41 left in the game, 60-49.
At that point, Gaucho head coach Bob Willliams called a timeout and UCSB proceeded to divert from the script.
Santa Barbara senior guard LaRon Bryant drilled a three-pointer from the left side to cut the Long Beach lead to 60-52. After 49er center Travis Reed was fouled and made one free throw, the Gauchos went back to work. Senior Juliano Jordani was fouled inside and made one of two free throws to narrow the gap to 61-53. Twenty-two seconds later, junior forward Mike Vukovich hit sophomore forward Mark Hull with a pass on the baseline and Hull pulled up and made a ten-foot jumper, narrowing the 49er lead to six, 61-55.
The six-point deficit with 6:50 left in the game was the closest UCSB had been since they trailed by four with just over three minutes to go in the first half, but they didn't stop there.
A short jump hook by Vukovich made the score 61-57 with 6:32 left and it forced Long Beach coach Wayne Morgan to call timeout and at that point, UCSB freshman guard Nick Jones took over.
Jones hit a 15 foot jumper that pulled the Gauchos to within two, 61-59, with 5:47 left. After a 49er turnover, it was Jones again, drilling a 12 footer in the lane to tie the score, 61-61. Long Beach forward Kevin Roberts stopped the bleeding momentarily when he scored on a follow with 3:57 left, giving LBSU its final lead of the game, 63-61.
With 3:07 to go, another UCSB freshman, guard Branduinn Fullove, tried to lob the ball into Vukovich, but the pass went awry and hit the rim, Jones didn't miss a beat as he knifed in, recovered the ball and made a short fallaway shot inside the lane, knotting the game at 63-63 with 3:07 on the clock.
On the other end, Long Beach tried to force the ball inside, but they were unable to do so and UCSB's B.J. Ward came up with the fumble, pushed the ball up the court and with 2:21 left, got the ball to Vukovich, who scored on a layup, giving UCSB its first lead since the score was 19-18 with just over ten minutes to go in the first half.
LBSU then got the ball back inside to Reed and as the junior center backed in and forced a short turnaround. Vukovich wrapped-up the 48-percent free throw shooter, sending him to the line for a pair. Reed, who was 0-for-8 from the free throw line against the Gauchos two weeks earlier, missed both ends of the two-shot foul with 1:59 and the Gauchos came up with the rebound.
Reed returned the favor on the Gaucho offensive end of the floor, fouling Vukovich. Vukovich, however, did not repeat Reed's feat, making both free throws instead to give his team a four-point lead, 67-63.
After a missed jumper by Ramel Lloyd, it was Jones' turn again. Fullove found the Oxnard native on the right baseline and Jones blew past his defender, for a layup. He was also fouled by LBSU's Ron Johnson and he hit the free throw to give UCSB a 70-63 lead with 1:04 left in the game. At that point, it became a parade to the free throw line as the 49ers intentionally fouled every time the Gauchos took possession of the ball.
Another freshman, guard Jacoby Atako, was the first to go to the line and he hit a pair with 0:45 remaining in the game, giving UCSB its biggest lead of the game, 72-63, and completing an amazing 23-3 run that led to the Gauchos first win in seven tries at LBSU's Pyramid, 78-71.
Jones led four Gauchos in double-figures, tying career-highs with 19 points and seven rebounds. Fullove added 14 points, six rebounds and three assists. He also made five-of-six free throws down the stretch to ice the victory. Vukovich had 14 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. Hull added 12 points, seven rebounds and a career-high five assists.
After making only 33.3% of its shots in the first half, UCSB drilled 14-of-23 in the second half, an outstanding 60.9%, to finish at 45.3% for the game. In addition, the Gauchos hit 26-of-31 from the free throw line, 83.9%. Long Beach State, on the other hand, shot just 40.6% from the field and 47.4% from the free throw line. They were paced by senior guard Ramel Lloyd, who scored a game-high 25 points, 18 of which came in the first half when he nailed all four of his three-pointers.
With the victory, UCSB has now won two games in a row. The Gauchos are now 4-4 in Big West play and 7-11 overall. The win also snapped LBSU's four-game winning streak.
Santa Barbara will close out its two-game road trip on Saturday night when they travel to Stockton for a 7:00 p.m. game against Pacific.