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CS Fullerton Surprises UC Santa Barbara : Titans Build Big Early Lead, Then Hold Off Gauchos for 74-69 Upset

February 05, 1989|ROBYN NORWOOD | Times Staff Writer

There was a host of UC Santa Barbara fans doing a pretty fair job of turning Cal State Fullerton's 4,000-seat Titan Gym into a Thunderdome South Saturday.

They failed in one major respect. The Gaucho fans might have won the noise battle, but the Titans won the game, building a 16-point lead and then holding on for a 74-69 upset in front of 3,644 fans, fewer than half of them locals.

For Fullerton, it was an upset that had its first stirrings in Wayne Williams' 35-foot shot at the halftime buzzer. It was a basket that Coach John Sneed called "a shot in the arm," and it put Fullerton ahead by 7 points and into a winning mode.

When Williams made that shot and met teammate Derek Jones in an embrace at midcourt, you would have thought the Titans already had won.

"Yeah," said Williams, who finished with 14 points, "it was pretty exciting."

Said Sneed: "We needed a boost, and Wayne's shot gave it to us. I think our kids have played well in some big games, it was nice to finally come up with a big win."

The real celebration came later, after Fullerton survived a Gaucho comeback, led by the aggressive drives of guards Carlton Davenport and Carrick DeHart.

Fullerton had been up by 16 with 15 minutes to play. But DeHart put together a 3-point play and a driving jumper to help cut it to 9. The teams traded baskets a while, but with a chance to cut it to 7, DeHart took one giant high-dribble, sweeping step around Mark Hill and drove in for a layup, cutting it to 58-51 with 9 minutes left.

Santa Barbara cut it to 70-69 with a minute left on a 17-foot jumper by Davenport. But Ceballos, fouled on a drive with 16 seconds left, made 2 free throws for a 72-69 Titan lead.

On Santa Barbara's final possession, Fullerton's Rashone Lewis saved the game with a block of Mike Doyle's 3-point attempt with 3 seconds left. The possession on the jump ball went to Fullerton, and Mark Hill made two free throws when he was fouled with a second left.

It was Fullerton's play in the early going of the second half that got things really going. Ceballos drove for a layup and a 9-point lead on the first possession. After trading baskets, David Moody tipped the ball in off a miss by Ceballos, and as quick as that, Fullerton led 41-30, with just two minutes gone in the second half.

But it was a couple of plays by Ceballos that made the lead emphatic--a 360-reversed dunk off a steal by Jones, and a high-lofting hook.

Fullerton's biggest lead came with 15 minutes left, 50-34, on Williams' two free throws.

It was a game that began oddly, without Santa Barbara Coach Jerry Pimm on the bench. Pimm was so ill that he had contemplated staying in his hotel room. But 20 minutes before the game began, he changed his mind. Pimm walked into the gym with the game under way.

When he arrived, he entered a gym that might have been two hours north of Fullerton, for all the support the Titans were getting. It was a night on which chants of "defense, defense," were no particular indication which team had the ball. Fullerton players were even subject to being razzed at the free- throw line.

It was only the third loss of the season for Santa Barbara, all in the Big West Conference.

"The big point for us was the end of the half, when they got that lead," Pimm said. "And we couldn't guard Ceballos, he's just so much better offensively than us."

Ceballos led all scorers with 26 points. Hill added 24 for Fullerton, and Mike Doyle led the Gauchos with 20.

Fullerton is 9-10 overall. Santa Barbara is 15-3.

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