February 16, 2008

UCSB Turns to the Inside Game in 77-73 Victory at UC Davis

Feb. 16, 2008

Box Score

DAVIS, Calif. - Led by Ivan Elliott who scored 18 points and Chris Devine who added 15, visiting UC Santa Barbara scored a season-high 44 points in the paint and held on to defeat UC Davis on Saturday night, 77-73. The Gauchos (19-6 overall, 8-4 in the Big West) overcame a career-high 26-point performance by Aggie (8-17 overall, 2-10 in the Big West) forward Dominic Calegari.

Elliott made eight out of his nine field goal attempts and scored his 18 points despite being limited to 22 minutes with foul trouble. He scored UCSB's first seven points of the game, the final two coming on a slam dunk to give his team a 7-3 lead. Devine and Alex Harris each made lay-ups to push the Gauchos' early advantage to 11-3. A free throw by Elliott gave them their biggest lead of the first half, 12-3 with 16:32 to play.

The lead bounced from three to nine for the next several minutes. Devine made a short jumper from the side of the key to make the score 29-20 with 5:18 left in the half, but then, fueled by free throws, Davis crept back into the game.

The Aggies, who made 16 of 19 free throws in the first 20 minutes, used a pair by guard David Carter to tie the score at 33 apiece with 41 seconds left. The score remained tied 33-33 at the half.

Santa Barbara stayed with the inside game as the second half began. Devine made a short leaner and was fouled. He made the free throw to put the Gauchos up 36-33. Nedim Pajevic then stole the ball from Aggie guard Vince Oliver and fed Harris just to the upper left of the three-point line. The team's leading scorer made a 22-footer to make it 39-33. It was the first three-pointer made by UCSB after going 0-for-7 first half.

The Aggies, however, continued to battle. Shane Hanson answered Harris' three with one of his own, and after a free throw line jumper by Pajevic, Carter drained a three-pointer from the right corner. Back-to-back lay-ups by James Powell and Pajevic, and a three-pointer by Powell boosted the Gaucho lead back to 48-39 with 15:22 remaining in the game.

Davis fought back again as Hanson made a lay-up, was fouled and hit the free throw, to make it 48-42. Powell responded with another three-pointer, but Nathan Clark hit one of his own to make it a six-point game again. Harris made his second three-pointer to give the Gauchos their last nine-point lead of the game, 54-45 with 13:48 to play. Hanson hit consecutive three-pointers over a 30 second span to cut the gap to three, 54-51.

The teams continued to match basket-for-basket. The Aggies pulled to within one, 60-59, on a lay-up by Clark with 6:47 to play, but Pajevic made two free throws to make it 62-59 with 6:32 left. A tip-in by Calegari made it one-point game again, but Elliott responded with an acrobatic baseline lay-up to move the lead back to three, 64-61, with 5:49 to play.

The home team continued to keep things close as Calegari made a 10-footer from just outside the key, but three straight free throws by Devine made it 67-63 with 4:11 to play. Devine did miss his fourth attempt of the sequence, but the Aggies couldn't capitalize as Calegari missed a three-point attempt that was rebounded by Elliott. On the other end, Harris rebounded his own missed lay-up, missed a second one, but Elliott was there again, tipping in the follow to give UCSB a 69-63 lead with 3:09 to play.

Davis missed a pair of jumper on its end, and the second was rebounded by Elliott, but a UCSB turnover and a pair of free throws by Calegari made it 69-65 with 2:04 left. Another Gaucho turnover, and an alley-oop dunk from Carter to Calegari made it a two-point game, 69-67 with 1:53 to play. After a timeout, Santa Barbara worked the ball to Devine who rimmed a short jumper, but again Elliott was there to clean things up with a tip-in to make it 71-67 with 1:36 remaining.

After a missed three-pointer and an offensive rebound, Carter hit a lay-up to make it 71-69 with 59 seconds to play. When the Gauchos inbounded the ball, Justin Joyner was intentionally fouled. He missed both free throws, but Devine came down with the rebound and Powell made a key jumper from near the free throw line to boost the lead to 73-69 with 33 seconds to play.

Powell fouled Carter with 25 seconds to play, and the guard made both free throws to make it a two-point game again, 73-71. UCSB, however, broke the press and Paul Roemer went in for an uncontested lay-up with 15 seconds to play, making it 75-71.

Payne made a short jumper with 4.9 seconds to play, pulling the Aggies within two for the last time, 75-73. Harris was intentionally fouled with two seconds left, made both free throws, and the game was essentially over.

Elliott, who had three fouls in the first 10 minutes, finished with eight rebounds and three steals to go with his team-high 18 points. Devine had seven rebounds and three assists to go with his 15. Harris had 13 and Powell 12 to give UCSB four players in double-figures. Roemer made all three of his shots and all three of his free throws to finish with nine points, and Pajevic added eight.

Calegari had a game-high nine rebounds, as well as his career-high 26 points. Carter finished with 14 points, and Hanson added 12 for the Aggies.

UCSB had 12 steals, giving it 28 in the last two games, and shot 52.7% from the field.

The Gauchos return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 20, when they travel to Pacific for a key Big West Conference games. The teams are tied for third-place in the league with their 8-4 records.

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