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Men's Basketball

2002 Tournament Recaps


The UC Santa Barbara men's basketball team celebrates the first-ever Big West Tournament championship in school history.
Photo: Matt A. Brown

UC SANTA BARBARA WEARS FIRST-EVER BIG WEST TOURNAMENT CROWN
The UC Santa Barbara men’s basketball team won its first-ever Big West Tournament title with a 60-56 victory over Utah State in the championship game on Saturday in front of 3,020 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

This marks the third NCAA Tournament bid for UC Santa Barbara, which qualified as an at-large in 1988 and 1990. This is also the first time since 1990 that the men’s and women’s champion hailed from the same school. The UC Santa Barbara women were victorious in their final earlier in the day.

Three Gauchos scored in double figures, led by sophomore Branduinn Fullove’s 12 points. Senior Adama Ndiaye scored 11 points, and Big West Tournament MVP Nick Jones added 10. Utah State received 12 points apiece from Desmond Penigar and Mike Ahmad. Toraino Johnson and Tony Brown were the other Aggies in double figures with 10 points each.

Both teams shot well in the first half, with UCSB hitting at a 51.7% (15-for-29) clip and USU making 53.8% (14-for-26) from the field. UC Santa Barbara raced out to a 33-22 lead with 4:50 left in the first half, but Utah State closed the half with a 10-3 run to trail by four, 36-32.

UCSB extended the lead to nine, 43-34, on the strength of two buckets by Ndiaye and a three-pointer from Fullove. The Aggies battled right back and tied the game at 43-43 with 11:39 remaining. Ahmad scored six points during that run, and it was nip-and-tuck the rest of the way. The two teams were tied four times from that point, the last time at 53-53 with only 2:35 left. UCSB made five of six free throws down the stretch and USU went cold from the field, giving the Gauchos their first-ever tournament championship.

UCSB will find out its seeding and first round NCAA Tournament opponent on Sunday.



UC Santa Barbara's Nick Jones and UC Irvine's Mike Hood scramble for the ball. Jones and the Gauchos beat the Anteaters 66-61 in the semifinals on Friday.
Photo: Matt A. Brown

UC SANTA BARBARA REACHES FIRST TOURNAMENT TITLE GAME; DEFEATS UC IRVINE
UC Santa Barbara had competed in 18 previous Big West Tournaments and had never reached a championship game.

The Gauchos have broken the dry spell.

Behind 21 points from sophomore Nick Jones and 50.0% (21-for-42) shooting for the game, UC Santa Barbara defeated Big West co-champion UC Irvine, 66-61, in the semifinals before 4,018 at the Anaheim Convention Center on Friday evening.

UCSB is now 19-10 on the season and plays Utah State on Saturday at 9:00 p.m. for the championship and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The game will be televised on ESPN.

UCI led for virtually the entire first half thanks to 52.2% (12-for-23) shooting and took a 36-31 halftime lead into the locker room. UCI also shot 76.9% (10-for-13) from the free throw line during the first stanza. UCSB also was hot from the field, hitting at a 50.0% (10-for-20) clip from the floor.

In the second half, UCSB opened with a 11-4 run and led 42-40 with 16:07 remaining. Both teams traded leads several times after that, neither team leading by more than three points the rest of the way until Nick Jones made a layup as time expired for the final margin of victory. There were nine ties and 16 lead changes for the game.

The key for UCSB was its ability to hit free throws down the stretch. The Gauchos made five of six freebies over the final 1:03. UCSB hit 71.4% (10-for-14) from the foul line in the second half, while the Anteaters were only 3-for-5.

Sophomore Adam Parada led UCI with 18 points and seven rebounds. Senior Jerry Green, the two-time Big West Player of the Year, contributed 17 points and eight assists.

UCSB also received strong efforts from sophomore Branduinn Fullove with 13 points and Mark Hull with 11. Jones made six of eight shots from the floor and was seven of nine from the free throw line.



Tony Brown poured in a career-high 29 points to lead Utah State to a 69-65 victory over Pacific in the Big West Tournament semifinals on Friday.
Photo: Matt A. Brown

UTAH STATE PREVAILS IN SEESAW BATTLE WITH PACIFIC
Utah State took another step toward winning its third consecutive Big West Tournament championship as the Aggies pulled out a 69-65 win over Pacific in tournament semifinal play on Friday evening at the Anaheim Convention Center. Senior guard Tony Brown scored a career-high 29 points for Utah State, connecting on six of 11 shots from the field, five of nine three-point attempts and 12 of 15 from the free throw line.

The Aggies advance to tomorrow’s championship game against the winner of the UC Irvine-UC Santa Barbara game. Utah State improved to 23-6 with the win and Pacific fell to 20-10.

It was an intense battle between the two teams, a game which featured 22 lead changes and 14 ties. The biggest lead of the game was seven points, 46-39, by Utah State at 16:37 of the second half. Pacific trailed 62-57 with 4:06 remaining, but junior Demetrius Jackson hit two consecutive three-pointers to give the Tigers a 63-62 lead with 3:09 on the clock. On the next possession, Brown was fouled on a three-point attempt and proceeded to sink all three foul shots.

Pacific tied the game at 65-65 on a layup by Mike Preston with 36 seconds remaining, but Utah State reclaimed the lead at 66-65 on a Toraino Johnson free throw. Utah State scored its final seven points on free throws.

Senior Desmond Penigar had 20 points for Utah State, who won despite shooting only 25.9% (7-for-27) in the second half. Pacific’s Maurice McLemore led the team with 19 points. Demetrius Jackson scored 18 points and Preston added 16.



UC Santa Barbara's Bray Skultety yanks down a rebound in the Gauchos' win over Cal Poly.
Photo: Matt A. Brown

BALANCED EFFORT LEADS UCSB TO WIN OVER CAL POLY
UC Santa Barbara defeated rival Cal Poly by a score of 74-65 to conclude Big West Tournament quarterfinal action on Thursday at the Anaheim Convention Center. All five Gaucho starters reached double figures in scoring, led by 16 points from junior Mark Hull.

The Gauchos, who improved to 18-10, will play UC Irvine in the semifinals on Friday at approximately 8:30 p.m. The Mustangs finished their season at 15-12.

The keys to the UCSB victory were rebounding and free throw shooting. The Gauchos enjoyed a 45-28 edge on the glass while making 75% (27-for-36) from the foul line. Conversely, the Mustangs shot only 43.8% (7-for-16) from the free throw line.

UCSB held a slim 30-26 halftime advantage and led by only two, 35-33, with 16:04 remaining in the game. The Gauchos then embarked on a 16-3 run to increase the lead to 15 points and effectively put the game out of reach.

Sophomore Branduinn Fullove had 13 points and nine rebounds for UCSB. Senior David Henry led Cal Poly with 15 points and senior Brandon Beeson chipped in with 11.



Jerry Green scored a game-high 23 points to propel UC Irvine to victory over Long Beach State.
Photo: Matt A. Brown

UC IRVINE WINS HARD-FOUGHT GAME VERSUS LONG BEACH
UC Irvine’s Jerry Green recorded 23 points, and Adam Parada contributed 17 points and 12 rebounds, leading the Anteaters to a 72-65 opening round win in the Big West Tournament.

The Anteaters also received 15 points from Jordan Harris and 10 from Stanislav Zuzak in a balanced effort that avenged a loss to the 49ers in the regular season finale last week. UC Irvine improved to 21-9 while Long Beach State ends its season at 13-17.

Long Beach State was led by Tony Darden, who poured in 22 points and hit five three-pointers. Senior Travis Reed registered a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Ron Johnson tossed in 13 points to close out the list of 49ers in double figures.

Although UCI led for the entire second half, the game was up for grabs until the final 20 seconds. LBSU trailed 44-34 with 14:58 left in the game, but trimmed the deficit to one at 50-49 with 8:09 remaining. However, UCI managed to hold off the charging 49ers, hitting 11 of 15 free throws in the second half. Green, the two-time Big West Player of the Year, sank 9 of his 11 free throw attempts.

UCI moves on to face the winner of UC Santa Barbara-Cal Poly on Friday in semifinal action.



Utah State's Jeremy Vague battles Idaho's Rodney Hilaire for a rebound in Big West Tournament quarterfinal action on Thursday.
Photo: Matt A. Brown

UTAH STATE KNOCKS OFF IDAHO, 61-41
Utah State shot a blistering 55.2% for the game in a 61-41 victory over Idaho in the second Big West Tournament quarterfinal of the afternoon session on Thursday.

The win improved the Aggies’ record to 22-6, while the Vandals concluded their season at 9-19.

Senior center Jeremy Vague led Utah State with 14 points and also had three blocked shots. Senior forward Desmond Penigar was the other Aggie player to reach double figures, scoring 12 points.

Utah State, which led 24-15 at halftime, began the second half with a 13-6 run and extended their advantage to 16 points with 13:16 remaining. USU led by as many as 25 points and ended up holding Idaho to its third-lowest scoring output of the season.

The Aggies limited the Vandals to 31.9% (15-for-47) shooting for the game. UI received 10 points apiece from Rodney Hilaire and Matt Gerschefske.

Utah State meets Pacific in a semifinal on Thursday at 6:00 p.m.



Mike Preston collected 19 points and 16 rebounds to help Pacific to a win over Cal State Northridge.
Photo: Matt A. Brown

PACIFIC DEFEATS CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE IN 1ST QUARTERFINAL
Eli Nolan was one of five players to score in double figures, contributing a career-high 21 points as Pacific ousted Cal State Northridge, 78-66, in Big West Tournament quarterfinal action on Thursday at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Senior Mike Preston posted career-highs of 19 points and 16 rebounds to help Pacific to its seventh 20-win season in school history. The Tigers improved to 20-9, while the Matadors finished the season 12-16.

Cal State Northridge held a 36-34 halftime advantage on the strength of six three-pointers. However, Pacific connected at a torrid 52.2% (12-for-23) clip from the field in the second half and limited the Matadors to 30.6% (11-for-36) shooting. Pacific also went to the free throw line 40 times for the game compared to CSN’s 21 attempts.

Nolan drained two consecutive three-pointers midway through the second half as part of an 11-0 run that turned a tie game into a 55-44 advantage. The Tigers increased their led to 15 points at 66-51 on a layup by Preston at the 7:28 mark and the Matadors never threatened.

CSN’s Ian Boylan, the Big West Freshman of the Year, led his team with 17 points. Senior Markus Carr finished with 15 points.

The Tigers advance to tomorrow’s semifinals at 6:00 p.m. and will play Utah State in a rematch of last season's championship game.

 

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