Gauchos Upset In Big West Semis By Cal Poly-SLO, 67-52

March 14, 2003

Box Score

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Varnie Dennis had 18 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots to lead Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to a 67-52 upset of top-seeded UC Santa Barbara in the semifinals of the Big West Conference tournament Friday night.

The fourth-seeded Mustangs (16-13)-who had never won a Division I conference tournament game before this year-will play either second-seeded UC Irvine or third-seeded Utah State in Saturday night's championship game.

The Gauchos (18-13) were the defending tournament champions and won the regular-season title this year.

The teams were tied at 46 with 10:52 to play when Cal Poly used an 11-2 surge to take a 57-48 lead with 5:43 left.

The Mustangs then went 10-for-11 from the free-throw line in the final 4:57. Dennis and Jason Allen each made all four of their foul shots.

UC Santa Barbara scored only two points in the final five minutes.

The Gauchos' Nick Jones led all scorers with 19 points but Branduinn Fullove, the Big West player of the year, missed all eight of his shots from the floor and finished with just two points.

Shane Schilling added 14 points for Cal Poly.