Nov. 28, 2008
NORMAL, Ill. - Spurred by a 32-17 run over the final 15 minutes of the first half, UC Santa Barbara turned an early 6-2 deficit into a 34-23 halftime lead and cruised to a 71-58 win over Winston-Salem State on the first day of the World Vision Invitational at Normal, Ill., on Friday night.
UCSB (2-3) ended its three-game losing streak against Winston-Salem (0-4), a team that has yet to win a game.
Senior forward Chris Devine led a balanced Gaucho attack with his second double-double of the season, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds. He made 5-of-7 shot from the field. Junior guard Paul Roemer was the only other UCSB player in double-figures with 11 points, a season-high. He was 3-for-5 from the field, including 2-for-4 from three-point territory. Three other Gauchos - Jesse Byrd, D.J. Posley, and James Powell - finished with nine points apiece. Byrd also had seven rebounds and the nine points were a career-high for Posley.
After the Rams scored the first basket of the second half to cut Santa Barbara's lead to nine, 34-25, a three-pointer by Roemer bumped the edge back to 12, and then a floater by Posley made it 14. The advantage hovered between 11 and 14 over the next several minutes, but lay-ups by Devine and Serna, and a tip-in by Devine made it 52-32 Gauchos with 13:05 to play. UCSB took its last 20-point lead when Will Brew, Jr., drove the right side of the lane and banked in a a lay-up with 12:00 remaining.
Winston-Salem scored six in a row, including a three-pointer by McIntoche Alcius, to pull within 14, 54-40, but a tip-in and pair of free throws by freshman Greg Somogyi extended the edge back to 18, 58-40. The Rams, however, didn't quit, and when Isiah Tucker came-up with a steal and then made two free throws after was fouled on the ensuing lay-up attempt, the Gauchos' lead back to single-digits at 63-54 with 4:26 on the clock.
Once again, it was Devine who turned the momentum around as he took an interior pass from Byrd, made a lay-up, and was fouled. He hit the free throw to extend the lead back to 66-54. Following a defensive stop, it was Posley's turn to produce a three-point play as he made a lay-up and then the free throw following a foul to give UCSB an insurmountable 69-54 lead with 3:41 left.
Jamal Durham paced Winston-Salem with 13 points and nine rebounds. Isiah Tucker also had 13 points, all in the second half.
UCSB outrebounded the Rams 44-28, the biggest margin of the season. In addition to Devine and Byrd, who had 10 and seven respectively, freshmen Greg Somogyi and James Nunnally each had a career-high six. Somogyi also had two blocked shots and a personal-best six points in 14 minutes.
The Gauchos will play another late game on Saturday evening, taking-on Nicholls State, which lost to the host, Illinois State, on Friday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (PST)