If Michael Jordan is the Royal Flush in the game of basketball, then Mark Hull is the quiet and steady two pair that keeps giving you back your change.
The Gauchos avoided losing their third consecutive game by outplaying and out-hustling the University of Pacific 70-57 on Thursday night at the Thunderdome. Hull was the star, dealing the Tigers a jolt they failed to handle. Hull needed 15 points to become the 18th Gaucho and second junior to reach 1,000 points in a UCSB uniform.
And Hull didn’t disappoint the 1,737 Gaucho faithful.
Hull, who said after the game he “didn’t have any specific goals coming into the game,” nailed his 1,000th point in dazzling fashion. Hull drove past freshman forward Jasko Korajkic and over two other Tiger defenders for a layup to hand Santa Barbara a 55-42 lead with 12:35 remaining in the game. Hull and Carrick DeHart (1986-90) are the only Gauchos to reach 1,000 points in their junior campaigns.
“We just wanted to have a good showing after a rough outing on the road,” said Hull, who pumped in 19 points while ripping down a career-high 14 rebounds. “We have to keep this up for Northridge.”
Santa Barbara fell 40-37 to Idaho last Saturday, despite allowing only 12 points at intermission and nine field goals the entire game.
“We had to get back on track. We needed to start focusing more,” junior point guard B.J. Ward said.
The 1,000th point was notable for Hull, considering UOP Head Coach Bob Thomason barked in his high-pitched squeal at Korajkic to “take a charge.”
Hull had 13 points at halftime, ripping two three-pointers and making all five of his shots behind the charity stripe. Hull’s nine rebounds after 20 minutes were startling, but not so much as the fact that Hull kept his intensity up for the entire time he was on the court.
UCSB’s 17-point lead dwindled to five. After the Tigers (14-7, 6-5 in the Big West) clawed back 57-46 on a bucket by Korajkic, senior center Adama Ndiaye picked up his fourth foul at 8:37. Junior guard Demetrius Jackson capped an 8-0 run by converting an old-fashioned three-point opportunity to cut the lead, 57-52 at 6:51.
Hull responded in a way that symbolized his night.
The Hoover High grad canned his own three-pointer. The 60-52 lead gave the Gauchos a cushion they were comfortable with for the remainder of the contest.
“I liked the mindset of our team [Thursday night],” UCSB Head Coach Bob Williams said. “We came out more determined. … Mark Hull was an example of that type of play. We were very tough, very determined.”
Three of four free throws by sophomore helmsman Jacoby Atako pushed the lead to eleven. Atako, who finished with a game-high seven assists, dished his final helper to sophomore guard Nick Jones. Jones soared into the air for a flying hook shot and a 65-54 lead that dashed any Tiger dreams of catching up with three minutes left.
The Gauchos (13-8, 7-5) corralled an astounding 32 defensive rebounds, twelve more than UOP. Twelve of Hull’s 14 boards were of the defensive variety.
“We pursued the heck out of the ball,” said Williams, who has never lost to Pacific at the Thunderdome.
Williams, however, was not pleased that the weakest offensive rebounding team in the Big West gleaned 13 offensive boards. The Tigers hoisted 22 three-pointers, connecting on only three of them for a paltry 13.6 percent. UOP shot 36.7 percent overall, including 33 percent in the second frame.
UCSB found success in moderation, striking gold on 6-12 treys and hitting 53 percent of its field goals.
“It’s a game we had to play well in,” Williams said. “This was a much needed victory that helped lift our spirits.”
“This was a much deserved win.”