Jan. 2, 2006
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Something had to give in Monday night's Big West opener between UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside. The Gauchos entered the game winless on the road and the Highlanders entered the game winless period.
It was UCSB that gave.
The Gauchos couldn't overcome the hot-shooting Highlanders and lost an 81-78 decision to fall to 0-6 on the road and 5-6 overall. Riverside improved to 1-10 overall.
UCSB jumped out of the gates quickly. Senior guard Cecil Brown hit a three-pointer with 9:28 remaining in the first half to give the Gauchos a 30-22 lead, but then they went ice cold and were outscored the rest of the way, 23-9.
The Highlanders, who shot 63.0% in the first half, stayed hot for much of the second half. They led by as many as 12 points (53-41) before a frantic Gaucho comeback pulled UCSB to within one point on several occasions. In fact, the Gauchos had the lead down to one (68-67) with possession of the ball and 4:01 to go in the game.
Riverside never led by more than five the rest of the game and with 12 seconds left Derek Rasp nailed a long three-pointer from the top of the key, but with nine seconds to go Riverside guard Houston Power made a pair of free throws to give his team their 81-78 edge.
In trying to rush a three-pointer as time ran down, UCSB committed a turnover with less than a second to play and the game was over.
The loss put a damper on the best game of sophomore Chris Devine's career. Devine poured in a career-high 21 points and had a career-best 11 rebounds. It was the first double-double of his career. Senior guard Joe See had his third straight solid game scoring 15 points. Cecil Brown struggled with his shooting, but finished with 13 points. All of his field goals were from three-point territory. Junior post player Glenn Turner had 10 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Riverside was led by guard Larry Cunningham who scored 18 points. Center Klaus Schille added 12 points.
The loss drops UCSB to 0-1 in the Big West. The Gauchos travel to Cal State Fullerton on Wedesday afternoon for a 2:00 p.m. game against the league-favorite Titans.