March 8, 2006
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Cecil Brown scored 12 points and Cameron Goettsche tied a school record with six blocked shots to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 76-44 win in the first round of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday.
After scoring just three points in the first half, Brown scored nine in the second half, all during a 31-6 run which opened the second half. The surge transformed a 34-28 Gaucho lead into a 65-34 advantage with 8:54 remaining in the game. UCSB cruised from there, winning for the eighth time in the last 10 games.
For the first time this season, Santa Barbara had five players score in double-figures. In addition to Brown's 12, Goettsche and Joe See each added 11 while Chris Devine and Michael Chambers chipped-in 10 apiece.
Chambers, who came off the bench for the first time in 10 games, gave UCSB a lift in the first half. He entered the game with his team trailing 15-12 and scored seven points in just four minutes to give UCSB a 26-23 lead.
The Gauchos played 11 players in the game and all 11 played at least eight minutes.
"This was a good win from a couple of standpoints," said Santa Barbara head coach Bob Williams. "Obviously it was good from the standpoint that we won by 32 points, but it was also important that we had nobody play more than 25 or 26 minutes. In a tournament situation like this, you really need to play more guys to stay fresh and we did that tonight."
UCSB played a solid defensive game as it limited the Highlanders to 26.7% of their field goals, including 20.0% in the second half. Riverside also had 25 turnovers, a high by a Gaucho opponent this season.
The 32-point margin of victory was not only UCSB's largest this season, it was also the largest margin the Gauchos have ever recorded in a Big West Tournament game.
With the win, UCSB improves to 15-13 on the season and assures itself of a winning record.
The fifth-seeded Gauchos will play fourth-seeded Cal Poly in the quarterfinal round of the Big West Tournament on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. in the Anaheim Convention Center.