Jan. 20, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
UC Santa Barbara entered Thursday night's Big West game against second-place Cal State Northridge with just seven players available because of injuries. The Matadors entered the game healthy and riding a six-game winning streak.
When the game ended, the Gauchos had just six healthy players, but led by senior guard Chrismen Oliver who scored a career-high 21 points, they also had a win, 65-52.
The Matadors (8-8 overall, 6-2 in the Big West) jumped on UCSB (7-8 overall, 4-3 in the Big West) early, and when guard Davin White made a three-point basket with 14:56 remaining in the first half, they took an 8-0 lead. The Gauchos finally got on the board about a minute later on a short hook shot by sophomore forward Glenn Turner. Northridge still had an eight-point lead at 19-11 with just over seven minutes to go in the half, and that is when UCSB made its first move.
Guard Joe See hit a floating scoop shot to make it 19-13, and then after steal by junior forward Cameron Goettsche, junior guard Josh Davis made it 19-16 with a three-pointer from above the top of the key. After another Matador basket, freshman guard Alex Harris made back-to-back baskets, the first a three-pointer from the left side, and then a slashing lay-up with 3:12 remaining to tie the score at 21. White put Northridge up again with a jumper from the free throw line, but See gave the Gauchos their first lead when he was fouled after converting a steal into a lay-up basket. He made the free throw and it was 24-23 UCSB. White made a pair of free throws in the final minute of the first half give the Matadors a 25-24 halftime lead.
UCSB shot just 35.7% in the first half, but caught fire in the second half, outscoring Northridge 13-4 out of the gate to take a 37-29 lead with 15:58 to go in the game. The 13-4 run ended when, in a span of less than a minute, See hit a three-pointer from the corner, and Harris made back-to-back lay-ups.
The Gauchos remained hot the rest of the game. Turner made a pair of free throws with 9:43 remaining to give UCSB its first double-figure lead of the game, 46-36, and the lead never went below 10 the rest of the way. Oliver scored seven points in the final four minutes to keep the Matadors on the ropes. He made his final basket to give him a new career-high on a lay-up with 1:25 remaining in the contest, giving the Gauchos an 18 point lead, their biggest of the game, 65-47.
UCSB finished the game at 46.4%, but it made 57.1% in the second half to pull away. Northridge, which had it six-game winning streak snapped, shot just 36.0% for the game and committed 21 turnovers. The Gauchos, who had a season-high 20 turnovers in a 70-50 loss at Northridge on January 2, had just 16 turnovers.
"This was our best win of the year," declared UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "That was a very good team we played tonight. They have good players and they are well coached. In my time here (at UCSB), we have had some gutsy wins, and this one was just that, a gutsy win."
Oliver's game-high 21 points came on 9-of-15 shooting from floor, including 3-of-6 from three-point range. His previous career-high of 19 points came in last Saturday's win over UC Davis. Harris added 11 points and six rebounds for the Gauchos. Goettsche and Turner each had eight points and six rebounds for UCSB. Turner, who also blocked four shots, left the game with about 15 minutes to go, with a sprained right ankle. He did, however, return and although hobbled, re-entered the game. His status will be reevaluated on Friday. Josh Davis led UCSB with eight rebounds, and he had seven points.
The Matadors were paced by Ian Boylan who had 17 points and eight rebounds. White finished with 12 points and four assists.
UCSB returns to action on Saturday night, when it hosts first-place and defending league champion Pacific. The Tigers will enter the game with a perfect 8-0 record in the Big West. The game will tip-off at 7:00 p.m.