SAN DIEGO – UC Santa Barbara jumped out to an early nine-point lead but couldn't hold on, falling at the University of San Diego 77-68 on Sunday evening.
Led by Gabe Vincent, who scored 20 of his 23 points in the first half, UCSB (1-6) jumped out to a 23-14 lead with 11:26 before halftime. The Toreros (5-5), however, ended the half on a 23-11 surge to claim a 37-34 lead and never looked back.
"We've just got to be better," said head coach Bob Williams. "We weren't very good offensively or defensively after the first few minutes of the game. We got off to a good start but then we couldn't make a shot and on the other end, we gave up too many open looks. That's got to change."
USD made 12-of-26 three-point baskets. As for the Gauchos, after making four of their first five three-point attempts they hit just one of their final 18, including 0-for-10 in the second half, to finish 5-for-23.
Thanks in great part to the inside of work of Jalen Canty, who scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half before fouling out, UCSB was able to cut an 11-point deficit down to 60-57 with 7:27 to play. The Toreros responded with a 9-2 run, pushing the lead back to 69-59 with 3:33 on the clock.
"I thought we still had a lot of fight in us and that showed when we got it to three with around eight to play," Williams said. "But in the end, we just couldn't make shots or free throws and that really cost us."
The Gauchos also struggled from the free throw line as they made just 9-of-17. San Diego, on the other hand, was 19-of-21, 90.5%.
Brett Bailey made all four of his field goal attempts, finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds for USD. Frank Ryder (16), Tyler Williams (15) and Olin Carter (13) joined Bailey in double-figures.
Vincent added a team-high seven rebounds to go with his 23 points. Eric Childress scored a season-low four points but had a game-high five assists for the Gauchos. UCSB had five different players with at least five rebounds and won the battle of the boards, 35-32.
The Gauchos remain on the road and will travel to Los Angeles for a game at No. 2 UCLA on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. The game against the Bruins will be aired on the Pac 12 Network.