UCSB Pulls Away in Second Half to Top Long Beach State, 82-71

Ar'Mond Davis (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Ar'Mond Davis (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

LONG BEACH, Calif – Ar'Mond Davis recorded a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead four players in double-figures as UC Santa Barbara finished strong in an 82-71 win at Long Beach State on Saturday night.

The Gauchos (15-4 overall, 4-1 Big West) dominated the first half, leading by as many as 11 points, but when Edon Maxhuni made a three-pointer on a broken play at the buzzer, the lead was down to 38-31. The 49ers (8-13, 2-3) then scored the first 11 points of the second half to take a 42-38 lead at the 16:11 mark. 

But UCSB responded with a 9-0 run of its own. A powerful layup by Davis, a three-pointer by Max Heidegger and then back-to-back inside buckets by Amadou Sow gave the Gauchos a 47-42 lead with 13:40 to play.

"We came back with Max (Heidegger) to change things up after they went on their run," said head coach Joe Pasternack. "He did a great job of finding the open man and hitting a couple big shots. That was a big boost for us." 

The 49ers scratched back and took the lead two more times. Their final lead of 52-51 came on a jumper by Edon Maxhuni with 10:07 left. But the Gauchos answered again with a baseline jumper by JaQuori McLaughlin, a free throw by Devearl Ramsey, a tip-in by Heidegger and a slam dunk by Davis. The 7-0 surge put them ahead for good, 58-52 with 8:14 remaining. 

The closest Long Beach would get the rest of the way was four points at 58-54 on a pair of free throws by Deishuan Booker, but Heidegger reacted to that with his second three-point basket to take the wind out of the 49ers sails. 

"I felt good tonight," Heidegger said. "My shot started feeling more natural and I didn't press. This was a good team win." 

The junior guard came off the bench and scored 10 points, all in the second half. He also added six assists, two steals and no turnovers. 

Santa Barbara pushed the lead to 13 twice late in the game as they were sent to the free throw line by Long Beach. The Gauchos made 11 out of 12 free throws over the final 3:05 to seal the win. 

In addition to Davis and Heidegger, McLaughlin and Sow were in double-figures with 15 and 14 points respectively. McLaughlin added five rebounds. Ramsey finished with just five points, but he also added six assists, five rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot. Robinson Idehen came off the bench to make all three of his field goal attempts to finish with eight points and five rebounds.

The 49ers were led by Booker who had 25 points, including 12-for-15 from the free throw line. He also had nine rebounds and seven assists. Maxhuni chipped in 13 points, but after making all three of his three-point attempts in the first half he missed all three in the second half. K.J. Byers added 12 points and eight boards. 

As a team, UCSB shot 47.6% overall and made 8-of-20 three-point attempts. After making 11 of its final 12 free throws, it finished at 14-of-22, 63.6%. Long Beach shot 41.1% overall and hit 6-of-18 three-point attempts. The 49ers did much of their damage at the free throw line where they went 19-of-35. 

UCSB will return to action ton Thursday, Jan. 31 when it hosts UC Irvine in an 8:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome. The game was originally scheduled for 7:00 p.m. but was moved to accommodate ESPNU's broadcast.