NORMAL, Ill. – Illinois State used a 21-0 run midway through the first half to transform a 6-6 tie into a 27-6 lead over UC Santa Barbara and then the Redbirds coasted to a 100-72 win in Normal, Ill., Monday night.
The loss dropped UCSB to 0-2 on the season while Illinois State is 1-0.
Both teams were struggling with their shooting early, but after the first media timeout at the 14:51 mark, ISU exploded.
Senior guard Tyler Brown got things started by scoring four straight, the first two on a lay-up and the next two on a pair of free throws. After an old fashioned three-point play by Nick Zeisloft, senior forward Jackie Carmichael made a short bank shot. Brown followed that with a long three-pointer from the corner.
Carmichael kept the surge going with a slam dunk that was followed by five more points from Brown. Carmichael ended the run with a leaning jumper in the lane. In the end, Brown had 12 of the 21 points and Carmichael, who ended the first half with 17 points and finished with a game-high 27, had six during the decisive run.
"When they got it going, they were tough to stop," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "That is a very good, veteran team and they showed it tonight."
ISU extended the lead to 29 points before the Gauchos slowly whittled it down to 20 at half, 49-29. Against a tough and physical fullcourt man-to-man defense, UCSB made just 13-of-31 shots in the first 20 minutes, 41.9%. The Redbirds, after opening the game by making just 2-of-8 field goal attempts, drained 17 of their final 22, 77.3%, to finish the half at 19-of-30, 63.3%.
The Gauchos remained cold to open the second half, making just two of their first 11 shots, and ISU pushed its lead to 65-33. UCSB rallied with a 24-9 stretch to cut the gap back to 74-57. Freshman Taran Brown, who finished with a career-high 22 points on 7-of-14 from the field and 3-of-7 from outside three-point range, had a pair of threes, a steal and breakaway dunk and a short jumper during the run.
The Santa Barbara's push ended when Tyler Brown made his fourth three-point basket of the game. He finished with 22 points.
In addition to his 22 points, Taran Brown added six assists and no turnovers. Alan Williams had his first double-double of the season, finishing with 15 points, a career-high 13 rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals. T.J. Taylor gave UCSB a third player in double-figures with 10 points, making 4-of-6 shots, including both of his three-point attempts.
"T.J. played well tonight," Williams said. "He matched their quickness and made some shots. That was a good sign."
After their slow start, the Redbirds finished at 62.1% shooting overall and 50.0% from three-point range (10-of-20). The Gauchos shot 41.3% overall and 36.4% from outside the arc.
The Gauchos return home and play their home opener against The Master's College on Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Thunderdome.
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 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.