Gauchos Move to 3-0 for First Time Since 1994 With Thrilling Second-Ever Road Win at UNLV, 79-76
- Freshman guard James Powell made four free throws in the final 15 seconds and UNLV's Curtis Terry missed a three-pointer at the buzzer as visiting UC Santa Barbara held on to defeat the Runnin' Rebels in Las Vegas for the first time since 1988. The win gives the Gauchos their first 3-0 start since the 1994-95 season.
UCSB led 40-36 at the half and outscored UNLV 18-11 over the first 4:30 to extend the advantage to 11, 58-47. The lead hovered around between nine and 12 for the next 10 minutes, but a Devine jumper from about 12 feet out gave the Gauchos their biggest lead, 72-58, with 5:46 remaining in the game. That's when the Runnin' Rebels went to work.
Michael Umeh, who finished with 22 points, made one of his six three-point baskets to cut the gap to 11, 72-61. After Powell and UNLV forward Wendell White traded free throws to make the score 73-62, the Rebels blitzed Santa Barbara with a 10-0 run. White, who finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds, completed the run with 1:22 left by making a pair from the free throw line.
With the score 73-72 Gauchos, Devine was fouled by Umeh and made one of two free throws to make it 74-72 with 0:57 remaining. After a missed jumper by Curtis Terry, Powell was fouled going in for a lay-up. He made one of two to extend the advantage to 75-72 with 26 ticks left.
On the other end, Wink Adams missed a three-point attempt, but Rebel forward Joe Darger was fouled by Devine with 17 seconds left and he made a pair of free throws to pull his team within one, 75-74.
UCSB freshman Justin Joyner passed the ball in to Powell who was fouled by Terry with 15 seconds left. He made both free throws, extending the Gaucho edge to three, 77-74.
UNLV responded when Adams took the inbounds pass and raced the length of the court for a lay-up to make it a one point game for the third time in the final minutes. Again, the Gauchos got the ball into Powell, who was fouled again, with eight seconds remaining. As he had seven seconds earlier, the first-year player made both free throws to give UCSB a 79-76 lead.
The Runnin' Rebels had one more opportunity, but Terry missed a three-point attempt as time ran out as the Gauchos had their second win ever at UNLV.
"Tonight was a real gut-check for us," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "When the game got close at the end, we made our free throws we needed to make and we defended the way we needed to defend. This was a very good win on the road."
In addition to Devine's 25 and Harris' 20, Powell finished with a career-high 17 points. He made a trio of three-point baskets in the process. Devine added six rebounds. Freshman point guard Justin Joyner had just two points, but he also had seven assists, three rebounds two steals and just three turnovers against UNLV's pressure.
The win improves the Gauchos to 3-0 on the year. Las Vegas drops to 2-1.
UCSB returns to action on Tuesday, Nov. 21, when it travels to Pepperdine for a renewal of a long-time series against the Waves.