DALLAS, Texas – SMU made its first four three-point baskets and never looked back in a 84-57 win over UC Santa Barbara Tuesday night.
The Mustangs (4-1), who finished the game with nine threes on 19 attempts, was led by Duke transfer Semi Ojeleye who was 3-of-5 from outside the arc, including 3-for-3 in the decisive first half when he scored 15 of his 22 points. The Gauchos (0-4) were paced by Gabe Vincent with 18 points.
The Mustangs led 41-26 at halftime and then opened the second half with a 14-2 run as UCSB missed 12 of its first 13 shots to extend the lead to 55-28. Ami Lakoju scored on a little jump-hook and a free throw to end the run with 14:27 left in the game and make the score 55-31.
Santa Barbara narrowed the lead to 72-53 on a three-point basket by Eric Childress, but never got closer than 19 the rest of the way.
"That's a very good, veteran and well-coached team," said UCSB coach Bob Williams. "They have great length and, especially the five starters, are very tough match-up for us right now."
In addition to Vincent's 18 points, Childress (11) and Max Heidegger (10) were in double-figures. Vincent added four assists add four rebounds for the Gauchos, who finished with just 10 turnovers, 11 fewer than they had in their last game.
"I thought those three guys (Vincent, Childress and Heidegger) played well together," Williams said. "We know what Gabe and Eric bring, and I am very pleased with what Max has given us in his first two games. He really feels like he belongs out there and it shows in how comfortable he is."
Heidegger missed the Gauchos first two games of the season as he recovered from a foot injury, but he made his debut in a Nov. 19 game at Cal State Bakersfield, scoring 11 points. On Tuesday, he hit just 3-of-12 field goals overall and 1-for-6 from three-point range, but he had several outstanding drives to the basket and saw a handful of shots rim in-and-out.
Santa Barbara continued to struggle with its shooting as hit made just 32.8% from the field overall and 23.3% from outside the three-point arc, 7-for-30. On the flipside, SMU was outstanding, making 55.8% of its shots, including 47.4% of its three-pointers. Four of its five starters scored in double-figures.
In addition to their shooting advantage, the Mustangs were dominant on the boards. Enter the game, they were outrebounding their opponents by nearly 15 per game and Tuesday night was no exception as they had a 43-26 edge on the Gauchos.
UCSB will remain on the road for its next game when it travels to Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 27 for a 7:00 p.m. game against USC at the Galen Center. The game against the Trojans will be aired on the Pac 12 Network. The Gauchos will return home for its only home game prior to Christmas when it hosts Sonoma State on Thursday, Dec. 1.