Dec. 27, 2000
Riverside, Calif. -
On Wednesday night, the weather outside was delightful, but the UC Santa Barbara shots were so frightful.
On a December night with the Riverside weather hovering near the 60 degree mark, the Gaucho basketball team was as cold as the North Dakota, as they lost their third consecutive game, 63-59 at UC Riverside.
Neither team could hit many shots in the first half, but UCSB was particularly bad, going a 5-for-26 from the field, a mere 19.2%. The Gauchos and Highlanders played close for the first 12 minutes of the half and with 7:55 to go, UCSB trailed by only two at 13-11. At that point, however, UCR went on a 21-6 run to build a 17-point lead. They finished the half with that 17-point advantage, 36-19.
The Gauchos played much better in the second half, scoring the first six points to cut the Highlander lead to 11, 36-25. With 11:53 to go, they narrowed the UCR advantage inside ten points for the first time since late in the first half at 44-35. With 5:33 left, the Gauchos had climbed the entire hill, and when LaRon Bryant sank a pair of free throws, the game was tied at 50-50. But that was the last time.
UCR's Steve Clayton tipped in an errant three-pointer by Ted Bell, making it 52-50. The lead dropped below two only one more time, when Mark Hull scored on a layup to cut the gap to 57-56 with 0:43 remaining in the game. A layup by Bell made the score 59-56 with 0:27 to go. Jacoby Atako, making his first start at the point for the Gauchos, then hit one-of-two shots from the line to make it 59-57 with 0:21 left. At which point, UCR put the game away at the free throw line, winning 63-59.
The Gauchos shot 41.7% (15-of-36) in the second half to get back in the game, but they could never warm up from three-point territory. For the game, UCSB finished a dismal 2-for-19 from beyond the three-point stripe, and only freshman Nick Jones was able to connect from downtown, hitting 2-for-4.
The loss to UCR gives the Gauchos a 2-7 record heading into their final preseason game of the season. UCSB will host Loyola Marymount on Saturday in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.