Nov. 1, 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Junior guard Alex Harris scored 23 points, junior forward Chris Devine had 13 and freshman guard James Powell added 10 points as UC Santa Barbara opened its exhibition schedule with a 62-51 win over visiting UC San Diego Wednesday night at the Thunderdome.
The Gauchos scored the first basket and never trailed in the game, leading by as many as 21 points at 39-18 with just over 18 minutes to play. After UCSB took its largest lead, however, the Tritons went on a 28-13 run over the next 13 minutes to pare the edge to six, 52-46. The Gauchos responded with an 8-0 run to reclaim a 60-46 advantage with 2:20 to go and they never looked back. Powell scored six of the eight points in the decisive stretch, including four on lay-ups directly resulting from his own steals. In addition to his 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting, Powell had a game-high five steals and he tied for a game-high with six rebounds.
"Defense is something coach and I talked a lot about last year," Powell said. "I know it was an area where I really needed to improve and I worked hard on it over the summer. I think it paid off a little tonight."
Harris was 5-of-7 from the field, including 1-for-2 from three-point range, and he made 12-of-15 from the free throw line.
"My goal during the summer was to get into the mentality of taking the ball into the lane, to the basket and going to the free throw line," commented Harris. "In the past, I tended to look to pass after a drive, but this year I want to change that."
As a team, the Gauchos made 52.6% of their field goals overall, but they hit just 2-of-12 from three-point range. The Tritons, who outrebounded UCSB 34-26, shot 42.9% for the game, but they made a solid 14-of-27 in the second half, 51.9%. The game was generally sloppy as the teams combined for 39 turnovers, 21 by UCSD and 18 for the Gauchos.
San Diego was paced by forward Henry Patterson who had 10 points and guard Andrew Hatch who added nine.
The exhibition game marked the debut for seven of the 11 Gaucho players who played. UCSB was playing without its two injured seniors, guard Cecil Brown (stress fracture in his right foot) and forward Glenn Turner (groin injury).
Santa Barbara returns to action for its final exhibition game on Monday, Nov. 6, when it hosts Westmont in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.