Dec. 20, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Senior guard Cecil Brown saved the UC Santa Barbara basketball team on Tuesday night. In fact, he saved them twice as the Gauchos recorded a narrow 67-66 win over visiting Sonoma State.
With 51 seconds remaining and the Gauchos (4-4) trailing visiting Sonoma State (4-4) 64-61, Brown curled off a screen on an inbounds play following a timeout and made a 22-foot three-pointer from the left side to tie the score. That was act one.
After UCSB forced the Seawolves into a turnover, with 26 seconds to go, head coach Bob Williams called another timeout. The Gauchos got the ball into guard Alex Harris baseline backcourt. Harris drove up the court, but with 10 seconds remaining he slipped on a wet spot and lost control of the ball. Sonoma State guard Vincent Inglima, who was defending Harris, picked up the ball and raced in for a tie-breaking lay-up with 5.8 seconds left.
Following another timeout, UCSB rushed the ball into the frontcourt. Harris drove into the key but the ball was knocked out of bounds by the Seawolves with 1.8 seconds remaining. On the next inbounds pass the ball was again knocked out of bounds with 1.3 seconds to go.
At that point, it was time for act two.
Brown worked free in deep in the right corner and immediately launched a long three-pointer that drew nothing but net as the buzzer sounded to give UCSB a 67-66 win.
"I wanted to take the shots," Brown said. "I am always comfortable in that situation and I definitely wanted the ball in my hands. The last shot happened so quick I really didn't have time to think."
Brown's two three-point baskets held the Gauchos overcome an outstanding effort by the visiting Seawolves. Although UCSB led by as many as five points in the first half, it was never able to stretch the lead on Sonoma State. Led by Inglima who finished with 17 points, J.T. Tipton who finished with 13 and Donald Deshotels who had 11, the Seawolves ralled to take a 29-27 lead at the half.
Sonoma didn't miss a beat in the second half. After the Gauchos tied the score at 29 on a dunk by Cameron Goettsche, Sonoma answered on a lay-up by Paige Dumont. That's the way it was the entire half. Every time UCSB tied the score or took a lead, the Seawolves responded. In fact, when Brown made his second of his two game-ending three-pointers it was the first time the Gauchos led in the final 13 minutes of the game.
"I thought they played a great game," said Williams. "They had a very good game plan and they executed very well. I want to give them all the credit in the world. Pat (Sonoma head coach Fuscaldo) does a great job. That being said, I thought we did not play that well and I while I am happy with the win, I am disappointed that we needed Cecil (Brown) to bail us out at the end."
Brown ended the game with 18 points, his second highest total of the season. Goettsche made 7-of-9 shots from the field and 7-of-10 from the free throw line to finish with a career-high 21. He scored 18 of his points in the second half and also tied for game-high honors with seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Chris Devine made 5-of-6 shots to finish with 14 points. He also had seven rebounds.
Sonoma State made 52.2% of its field goal attempts, including 56.5% in the second half. The Seawolves outrebounded UCSB 30-28 but had 18 turnovers to Gauchos' 12. In fact, Santa Barbara had just three turnovers in the second half.
UCSB returns to action on Friday, Dec. 23, when it travels to Fresno State for a 7:00 p.m. game.