RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Dikymbe Martin scored 18 points to lead red-hot UC Riverside past cold shooting UC Santa Barbara on Thursday night, 71-57.
The Highlanders (9-17 overall, 3-7 Big West) made 26-of-45 field goals overall, 57.8%, and 11-of-17 from three-point range, 64.7%. The Gauchos (17-7, 6-4), who have lost consecutive games for the first time this season, hit just 39.6% overall and 18.2% from three-point range. They were even colder in the second half as they made a mere 32.0% overall and 1-for-11 from outside the arc, 9.1%.
"We are not in a good rhythm right now," said head coach Joe Pasternack. "We can't get anything going offensively and defensively we aren't where we need to be."
Amadou Sow kept UCSB in the game in the first half with 12 points, but he picked up his third foul early in the second half and Riverside took advantage, stretching an eight-point halftime lead into a 58-40 lead on a slam dunk by Menno Dijkstra with 8:24 left in the game.
The Gauchos never got closer than 14 the rest the way and even then, did so with just 0:09 remaining on a lay-up by Sékou Touré.
Martin made 6-of-12 field goals, including 2-for-3 from three-point range. Dominick Pickett was also a standout for the Highlanders as he scored 14 points on 5-of-6 overall and 4-of-5 from three-point territory. He also added a game-high seven rebounds and five assists. D.J. McDonald had 11 points and made 3-of-4 three-pointers.
Sow finished with 14 points on 5-of-7 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Ar'mond Davis also scored 14 and paced Santa Barbara with six rebounds. JaQuori McLaughlin added nine points and Max Heidegger eight.
Riverside won the rebound battle, 27-22, but turned the ball over 20 times to keep UCSB within shouting distance for much of the game. The Gauchos had 14 turnovers of their own in the sloppy game.
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UCSB returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 16 when it travels to first-place UC Irvine for a 9:00 p.m. game that will be televised on ESPN2.