Nick Jones' Buzzer-Beating Three-Pointer, Mark Hull's 32-Points, Lead Men's Basketball Past Cal State Fullerton, 64-62Fullerton, Calif. - Mark Hull and Nick Jones combined to score UC Santa Barbara's final 26 points Saturday night at Cal State Fullerton, more importantly, however, they teamed-up to score the final three in a 64-62 Gaucho win.
With 1.2 seconds remaining in the game, UCSB had the ball baseline backcourt trailing the Titans 62-61. Branduinn Fullove took the ball out of bounds, ran the baseline and heaved a three-quarter court pass to Hull. Instead of coming down with the ball, Hull spotted Jones four feet above the three-point arc and tapped it to the sophomore guard. In one motion, Jones launched a jumper as the buzzer sounded, sinking a three-pointer and giving the Gauchos the improbable victory.
Jones' late-game heroics, which gave the Gauchos a 7-2 overall record and a 2-0 mark in the Big West, overshadowed an amazing offensive performance by Hull. The junior swingman out of Hoover High School in Glendale finished with a career-high 32 points. He scored 29 points in the second half and, at one point, scored 20 consecutive UCSB points. In addition, Hull hit a career-high seven three-point shots, including six in a row.
Santa Barbara led throughout much of the game. They took the lead with 13:48 left in the first half on a layup by forward Bryan Whitehead, and held it until Titan guard Derrick Andrew made a three-point basket with 10:35 to go in the game. Fullerton forward Pape Sow gave his team its first lead in the second half with a baseline jumper at the 9:47 mark, making the score 45-43. The Gauchos, however, tied the score on the a pair of Hull free throws and then reclaimed the lead 48-45 on the fourth of his six consecutive second half three-pointers.
UCSB built the lead to five points with 4:43 to go, but could not expand it beyond that. With 35 seconds left, guard Kevin Richardson nailed a three-pointer to shave UCSB's lead to 58-57. The Gauchos got the ball to Jones on the inbound pass, and he was fouled immediately.
After a timeout, Jones, a 50.0% free throw shooter entering the game, calmly made both ends of a 1-and-1, making it 60-57 Gauchos with 32.8 seconds left. Under full court pressure, Fullerton brought the ball up and worked it inside to forward Josh Fischer who hit a turnaround from about seven feet out. The Titans again committed a foul immediately upon the Gaucho inbound pass. This time Hull went to the line for two shots with 12.2 seconds remaining. Hull missed the first and made the second to give UCSB a 61-59 edge.
Fullerton, which was out of timeouts, threw the ball inbounds to Richardson. Guarded by B.J. Ward, Richardson brought the ball up the right sideline, over halfcourt, he used a screen to shake Ward, drove the lane and banked in a driving pull-up jumper. In addition to the basket, Richardson was fouled by Gaucho forward Adama Ndiaye. After a UCSB timeout, he calmly hit the free throw, giving the Titans a 62-61 lead with 1.2 seconds left, setting the stage for Jones' heart-stopper.
"That was one of those endings you think about at night when you're trying to go to sleep," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "Nick made a beautiful shot. He didn't quit and we didn't quit as a team. When they took the lead, it would have been easy to shrug it off and deal with it, but this team is not like that and I am very proud of them."
In addition to his 32 points, Hull had four rebounds and three assists. Jones finished with 12 points. Branduinn Fullove, who entered the game averaging nearly 15 points a game, took only two shots and scored just two points. He did, however, lead the Gauchos in assists with five. Ndiaye, who fouled out, had eight points and five rebounds. As a team, UCSB made 21-of-42 shots, marking the fourth time in the last five games that they made 50.0% or better from the field.
UCSB, which has now won three consecutive games for the first time this season, returns to action on December 28 when it plays Detroit Mercy in the first round of the Cable Car Classic at the University of Santa Clara. The winner of that game will face the winner of the Santa Clara-Maryland Baltimore County game.