SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Amadou Sow had his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds to help UC Santa Barbara overcome a sluggish first half and post a 55-45 win over visiting Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday night.
The Gauchos (7-2) trailed 21-17 before closing the first half with a 7-0 rally to take a 24-21 lead at halftime. UCSB opened the second half by outscoring the Lions (2-7) 11-2 to extend its run to 18-2 and take a 35-23 lead over the Lions (2-7) on a slam dunk by Christian Terrell at the 13:45 mark.
UAPB carved the advantage back to 35-28 on jumper by Isaac Bassey and a three-pointer from the right corner by Marquell Carter with 12:33 to play, but the Gauchos responded with devastating 12-0 surge that was completed when JaQuori McLaughlin hit a three-pointer from the corner at the 9:05 mark, giving his team a 47-28 edge.
A three-pointer by Martayeous McKnight made the final score 55-45. McKnight, who came into the game averaging 25 points per game, finished with a game-high 22.
"JaQuori is our best defensive backcourt player," said head coach Joe Pasternack. "He did a great job on McKnight. As a team, I thought we were outstanding on the defensive end. This team is one with very high character and has really bought into what we do defensively. Holding a team to 45 points is a product of this team's hard work."
UAPB finished the game at just 18-of-54 from the field, 33.3%. The Gauchos shot just 33.3% in the first half, but hit 12-of-20 in the second half, 60.0%, to complete the game at 45.5%.
Sow added a career-high three blocked shots. Devearl Ramsey had 10 points and three assists, while Ar'Mond Davis added nine points and seven rebounds for UCSB. Robinson Idehen had four points, four rebounds and a blocked shot before fouling out, but he was credited with infusing the team with energy at the end of the first half, kick-starting the 18-2 run.
"Robinson really came in and gave us some energy," Sow said. "He came in and really got us going at the end of the first half."
"We have an effective three-man rotation at that position," Pasternack said referring to the post spot. "At Washington it was Ami (Lakoju) who we called and tonight it was Robinson. He kind of got us going at the end of that first half."
UCSB will take a few days off for final examinations, but will hit the road for a pair of games when it returns to action. On Saturday, Dec. 15, the Gauchos will travel to Houston to play Rice University in a game that will tip-off at noon (PST). They will then travel to Nebraska-Omaha on Wednesday, Dec. 19 for a 5:00 p.m. (PST) game.