Feb. 9, 2002
The Gauchos trailed 31-30 at halftime, but they picked-up the pace defensively in the second half, holding the Matadors to just 5-of-21 from the field, 23.8%. UCSB, which ranks second in the nation in field goal percentage defense, held Northridge to 35.4% for the game.
The Matadors jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 17:51 left in the first half and led until Santa Barbara tied the score 18-18 with 6:53 to go. The teams see-sawed back and forth for the rest of the half. Markus Carr, who led the Matadors with a game-high 20 points, nailed a three-point basket at the buzzer to give his team its 31-30 halftime edge.
The second half started much the same way the first ended, with the teams trading baskets. Jacoby Atako hit a floating jumper in the lane at the 9:30 mark to give UCSB a 46-44 lead. With 7:44 to go, Hull scored on a baseline drive making it 48-44 and then with 7:20 left, Atako stole the ball from Carr and raced in for a lay-up, giving the Gauchos their biggest lead of the game to that point, 50-44.
Cal State Northridge never got closer than four the remainder of the game and the UCSB never led by more than their final margin, seven.
"They are a very difficult team to play," assured Gaucho head coach Bob Williams. "They are so athletic and they play so hard on the defensive end that it is tough to get good shots. Bobby (Braswell) does such a great job and his guys play so hard for him."
Williams was extremely pleased with the effort of Jones, who recorded his first double-double since last season.
"Nick was a warrior out there," said Williams. "He only makes one of his six shots, but he was one of the best players out there. Twelve rebounds? Wow, that was a great effort."
Branduinn Fullove joined Hull and Jones in double-figures with 11 points. Adama Ndiaye, who was playing despite suffering from the flu, had six points and nine rebounds before fouling out. As a team, UCSB hit 42.5% of its field goal attempts and outrebounded the Matadors 38-24.
The win improves the Gauchos to 14-8 overall and 8-5 in the Big West. UCSB moves past Northridge into a third-place tie with Cal Poly. The Matadors drop to 8-13 overall and 7-5 in league.
UCSB and Cal Poly will renew their Central Coast rivalry on Saturday, February 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome. The Gauchos are off until then.