Jan. 25, 2007
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - As has often been the case in 2006-07, UC Santa Barbara made itself right at home on the road. The visiting Gauchos received a career night from freshman guard Justin Joyner and used a suffocating zone defense to end a two-game losing streak, 67-57 over Cal State Northridge.
UCSB (12-6 overall, 4-2 in the Big West) held the Matadors (10-9 overall, 3-3 in the Big West) to 33.3% shooting from the field, but even more impressively, the Gauchos harrassed them into missing 20 of 21 shots from three-point range, including all 13 in the second half. The defensive effort helped them overcome a narrow 31-29 halftime deficit and coast to their seventh win in nine road outings this season.
The defense was just part of the story as Joyner played his best all-around game as a Gauchos. The first-year point guard who led De La Salle High School to the California State High School title in 2006, made 4-of-5 shots overall, including 3-of-4 from three-point range, and scored a career-high 15 points. He tallied 14 of his points in the second half and he was instrumental in the run that helped UCSB break open a close game.
With the score tied at 41-41 with 13:23 left in the game, Joyner nailed a three-pointer, his third of the game, to begin a 19-6 Gaucho run over nearly 11 minutes, giving them a 60-47 lead with just 2:25 to play. In addition to his outstanding offensive game, Joyner had a trio of steals and was a major part of a UCSB perimeter defense that allowed very few open looks on the night.
The Matadors cut the gap to eight in the final minute, but the Santa Barbara made just enough free throws to keep Northridge at bay.
Juniors Chris Devine and Alex Harris each scored a team-high 17 points. Devine made 7-of-12 shots and led the team with seven rebounds before fouling out with just under two minutes to play. Harris made just 4-of-12 shots overall, but he did hit 8-of-11 free throws, including the first eight he attempted in the second half. Senior Cecil Brown, making his second straight start, gave the Gauchos four players in double-figures as he tallied 11, nine of which came on the strength of three three-point baskets.
Senior Glenn Turner was not a force on the offensive end, but he had five rebounds a three blocked shots to go with two points in 15 minutes. All three of his blocks came in the decisive second half.
Northridge, which drops to 7-2 in home games this season, was led by Jonathan Heard who had 17 points and six reboiunds. Terrell Jones added 11 points and a game-high 14 boards. The Matadors easily won the rebounding battle, 50-35.
UCSB will remain on the road. The Gauchos travel up I-5 on Friday and will play at defending Big West Champion Pacific on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.