Feb. 27, 2003
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
On balance, UC Santa Barbara's 70-46 win over Long Beach State on Thursday night was a good one.
Regarding balance, the Gauchos had nine players score five or more points in the win and while UCSB outrebounded the 49ers 37-21, no player had more than the seven collected by Bryan Whitehead.
Yeah, on balance, the win was a good one.
Branduinn Fullove scored a team-high 11 points and Mark Hull added ten to lead the attack, but the win was more by committee than anything else. After Long Beach freshman Jibril Hodges opened the game with back-to-back three-pointers, the Gauchos went on a 17-3 run to open-up a 17-9 lead. The 49ers scored the next five to whittle the lead to three-points at 17-14 with 11:29 remaining, but UCSB seized control, ending the half on a 23-10 surge to lead at the break, 40-24.
Fullove opened the second half by draining a three-pointer from above the key, giving UCSB a 43-24 advantage, but the 49ers used a 15-4 run to cut the edge to 47-39 with 12:34 to go in the game. Long Beach, however, never got any closer and UCSB won going away, 70-46.
"I look at the scoresheet and I see nine guys between five and 11 points," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "That type of balance is tough to beat. I was really happy about the way we shared the ball tonight. We found the open man and with the exception of one stretch, we knocked-down shots."
While Fullove and Hull were the only players in double-figures, the Gauchos also got eight points, four rebounds and two steals from Nick Jones, seven points, seven rebounds and three assists from Bryan Whitehead, seven points, five assists and two steals from Jacoby Atako, seven points and six rebounds from Casey Cook and seven points from Cecil Brown.
The win gives UCSB an overall record of 14-12 and a Big West mark of 11-4. In addition, the victory sets-up a Saturday night showdown at the Thunderdome with UC Irvine. The 7:00 p.m. game will likely determine the Big West reguar-season champion. Asked if he was surprised his team didn't look past Long Beach State, Williams said he was not.
"I was not at all surprised," said Williams. "If we had won by 15 at their place, then that might have been a problem, but we lost a one-point game (68-67 on February 1) to them. Our guys remembered that and really took care of business tonight."
Long Beach, which is now 5-20 overall and 4-12 in the Big West, was led by senior guard Tony Darden, who scored 11 points, including 3-of-6 from three-point range. Cody Pearson added ten points.
UCSB shot a solid 50.0% for the game, and in addition to outrebounding the 49ers by 16, they held Long Beach to just 37.8% from the field. The Gauchos turned the ball over just nine times.
As mentioned above, the Gauchos will host UC Irvine on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome. The Anteaters entered tonight's game at Cal Poly with a six-game winning streak and a Big West record of 11-4.