SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara used an 18-0 run late in the first half to turn a 24-19 deficit into a 37-24 lead en route to a 74-50 exhibition win over visiting La Verne on Thursday night.
The Gauchos fell behind 15-6 midway through the first half as the Leopards took advantage of hot shooting of Jourdan Simmonds who made four of his 5 three-point baskets. Simmonds finished with a teah-high 17 points.
Sophomore forward Alan Williams, who finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, led the charge in the first half with 11 points, including eight during the 18-0 run. Lewis Thomas, another sophomore, added nine points in the game, four during the decisive rally.
UCSB struggled with turnovers to open the second half and La Verne cut into the lead. With 12:28 to play, Simmonds made his fifth triple and the advantage was down to four, 47-43. But another big Gaucho run of 16-1 stretched it to 63-44 and the game was all but decided.
The second half run was sparked by junior Shawn Moore, a walk-on from Butte College who had six points of the 16 points, finishing with eight points and seven rebounds in just 10 minutes. Freshman forward Mitch Brewe scored tallied five of his seven points and freshman guard Aamahd Walker matched him with five during the 16-1 spurt. Senior Nate Garth had three of his game-high five assists to help propel the run.
Brewe, who finished with seven points and six rebounds, and Walker who had his five points in just seven minutes, were two of six freshmen to play for the Gauchos on Thursday night. Guards Michael Bryson (seven points, two rebounds and two assists) and Dalanté Dunklin (two points, four assists and four steals), and forwards Taran Brown (five points, seven rebounds and two assists) and Sam Beeler (six points and three rebounds) also saw significant time.
"We have some really good young players," said head coach Bob Williams. "They are going to make some mistakes – we had 18 turnovers – but they are also going to grow and learn. I thought there were some very good flashes tonight and it was a good opportunity for us to get our feet wet."
UCSB will open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 9 when they travel to Baton Rouge, La., for a Friday, Nov. 9 game at Louisiana State. The Gauchos will remain on the road for their second game as well, traveling to Illinois State on Monday, Nov. 12. Both games will tip-off at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.
Season tickets for both the men's and women's teams are available from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here for men's season tickets and here for women's season tickets. Also, for the nest two seasons, the season tickets will commemorate 35 years of the Thunderdome and the tickets will reflect that. This year, the commemorative tickets will celebrate some of the greatest players to ever play in the storied arena and next year the greatest moments will be remembered.
In 2012-13, UC Santa Barbara will begin a two-year 35th anniversary celebration of the Thunderdome. The #thunderdome35 celebration includes commemorative 2012-13 season tickets that feature some of the greatest players to ever compete on the Thunderdome court. The players will also be remembered during Gaucho men's and women's basketball home broadcasts as well as the Gauchos in Thirty television show and online at UCSBgauchos.com.