February 24, 2007

Brown's Heroics Lift Gauchos Past UC Riverside, 68-67

Feb. 24, 2007

Box Score

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Senior guard Cecil Brown made a turnaround 10-foot fallaway shot with 7.4 seconds left on Saturday to lift UC Santa Barbara to a 68-67 win at UC Riverside, ending the Gauchos four-game losing streak and putting them one step closer to a first round bye in next month's Big West Tournament.

Brown, who finished with 16 points, made the shot out of a timeout to rescue UCSB. The Gauchos, who led for the first 39 minutes and 32 seconds, fell behind for the first time when Highlander guard Justin Bell made a three-pointer from deep in the left corner with 28 seconds remaining.

Bell's shot came after a tough sequence of events for Santa Barbara. With 39 seconds to play, the Gauchos turned the ball over on a baseline inbounds play. After a timeout, UCR got the ball into its leading scorer, Larry Cunningham. Cunningham, guarded by Alex Harris, lost the handle on the ball just above the top of the key. Both player scrambled after the loose ball, but with Harris sprawled on the floor, Cunningham wrested the ball free. He drove the lane to draw the defenders and found Bell wide open in the corner for the three-point shot.

The Gauchos then brought the ball in against token Riverside pressure and called a timeout upon entering the frontcourt. UCSB got the ball into Justin Joyner who dribbled across the court. He got the ball to Ivan Elliott who then hit Brown near the free throw line for the game-winner.

The Gauchos, who led by as many as nine points in the second half, were led by Harris who finished with a game-high 25 points. He made 5-of-8 three-pointers to help carry his team for much for much of the first 30 minutes of the game. With his 25 points, Harris becomes the 21st UCSB player to hit the 1,000 point mark. He has exactly 1,000.

Chris Devine finished with 13 points, nine rebounds, two steals, one blocked shot and a career-high five assists. Elliott was the fourth Gaucho in double-figures finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds. UCSB shot 57.8% overall. Riverside was paced by freshman forward Henrik Thomsen who had 15 points but fouled out with two minutes to play. Cunningham had 14 and Chris Johnson added 13 for the Highlanders, who were limited to 42.1% shooting from the field, but had just seven turnovers.

The win gives Santa Barbara a 10-4 road record for the season. The 10 road wins are a new school record.

The Gauchos will play their final two regular season games at home next weekend. On Thursday, March 1, they will host Pacific in a 7:00 p.m. contest and on Saturday, March 3, they will play Cal State Northridge in a 4:00 p.m. game that will be televised by FSN West.

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