Nov. 20, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Alex Harris scored 27 points and Chris Devine added 18 to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 74-69 win over visiting San Francisco on Tuesday. The duo also combined for 14 of the team's final 15 points as the Gauchos improve to 4-1. USF drops to 2-2 on the season.
Harris returned to action after missing UCSB's win over Cal Poly Pomona with an injured left thumb, and except for an uncharacteristic seven turnovers, he didn't seem to miss a beat, making 7-of-12 shots overall and 4-of-7 from three-point range to equal his season-high.
"My shot felt good," Harris said. "But the tape on my left hand was slippery and when the ball would hit that spot, I would lose control a little bit. Overall though, it was good to be back."
Devine scored a season-high 18 points in the win. He also added four rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.
"Chris is a warrior," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "He plays so hard all the time and tonight he left it all out on the court. He is dealing with some personal, family issues right now, but I thought his effort tonight was an inspiration to the whole team."
Devine, in fact, will miss the Gauchos' game against Montana State on Saturday night. On Wednesday, he will leave for his native Alaska where he will tend to his personal issues before returning on Sunday.
"Chris is needed at home right now," Williams said. "Basketball is important, but as a team we know that sometimes it has to take a back seat, and this is one of those times. Chris is going to be where he should be on Saturday night."
UCSB led 37-27 at the half and expanded the lead to 13 points on a number of occasions in the second half. The final 13-point lead came with 11:23 to play when Nedim Pajevic made the second of back-to-back jumpers from about 15 feet, giving the Gauchos a 55-42 lead. Pajevic finished with the first double-double of his career as he had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
USF outscored UCSB 11-2 over the next five minutes. Forward Hyman Taylor scored four of the final six points in the run, including a lay-up with 6:05 left to cut the lead to four, 57-53. The Gauchos responded with consecutive lay-ups, the first coming with Justin Joyner drove the lane and hit Ivan Elliott with a perfect feed. Elliott laid it in, high off the board. The second easy basket came when Pajevic hit a slicing James Powell with a perfect no-look bounce pass and then Powell, after drawing the defenders, slipped a pass to a wide-open Devine for the score, bumping the lead back to 61-53.
The Dons narrowed the gap to four once more when Manny Quezada scored on a leaner with 4:10 left. Quezada, who entered the game averaging 17 points per game, was limited to just six by UCSB. The Gauchos responded to the Quezada basket with a lay-up and a pair of free throws from Harris, reclaiming an eight-point lead, 66-58 with 3:11 to play.
In the final minute, USF sent Santa Barbara to the free throw line and the Gauchos responded by making six of eight free throws in the final 30 seconds to seal the win.
UCSB struggled to hold on to the ball on Tuesday night. UCSB committed a season-high 23 turnovers. USF, which was led by forward Dior Lowhorn who played all 40 minutes and scored 21 points, had 22 turnovers. The Gauchos shot 49.0% while the Dons made 45.8%.
Santa Barbara returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 24 when its host Montana State in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.