SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - History was made in a big way Saturday afternoon at the Thunderdome, as Cal State Fullerton grinded out a come from behind victory to knock off UC Santa Barbara, 67-62, marking the Titans' first win over the Gauchos in Santa Barbara since 1991.
For Fullerton (7-11, 3-2 Big West) the win signified the end of what was a 22-road game losing streak at Santa Barbara with the last win coming on February 12, 1991. UC Santa Barbara (6-12, 1-4, Big West), has now dropped five of its last six games and has loss the last two contests to Fullerton.
Senior Alex Thomas and junior Tailer Butler paced the Titans, each pouring in a team-high 16 points. Chante Miles and Samantha Logan also did their parts, as they each scored 11 points, while Miles also dished out eight assists in the win.
Melissa Zorning scored a game-high 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting, including four three-pointers for the Gauchos. Destini Mason also added 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the loss.
Despite shooting only 29 percent in the first half, the Titans forced multiple Gaucho turnovers in the second-half and improved its shooting to 53 percent from the field in the second half.
The Titans and Gauchos began the game trading buckets, but the Titans got a big life off the bench from Butler who knocked down three straight three-pointers, which put Fullerton ahead 17-14 with 10:55 remaining in the opening half. After a UCSB timeout, the Gauchos took control of the game as a 13-2 run with six minutes remaining in the first half put the Gauchos on top 27-19. UCSB then gained its biggest lead of the game and entered halftime leading 33-23.
Fullerton opened up the second half with three-pointers from both Logan and Thomas, which cut the UCSB lead down to four, 35-31. Over the next four minutes both teams traded baskets, but an 11-2 run after that put Fullerton ahead 49-46 with 6:09 remaining.
However, the Gauchos quickly answered back with a 7-0 run of their own and regained the lead 53-49 with under five minutes to play, but the Titans grinded back to take the lead again and were finally able to grab the lead for good as Miles completed an old-fashioned three-point play and Logan converted a three-pointer with under a minute to play.
The Titans return to action next Saturday, February 1st at Titan Gym versus rival Long Beach State with tip-off set for 6 p.m. Fans in attendance will receive a Cal State Fullerton rally buff.
Notes: Today's meeting marks the 71st meeting all-time between the two schools… Fullerton trails the all-time series 24-47 and is now 9-23 all-time at the Thunderdome…prior to beating UCSB last season the Titans had lost 40 consecutive contests against the Gauchos… the Titans are now 16-41 all-time against UCSB in Big West games… Miles has had double-digit scoring figures in 17 of 18 games this season… Miles ties a career-high in assists (8).