SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Red-hot Cal State Northridge made 61.2% of its shots overall and 65.4% in the second half to rally past UC Santa Barbara 78-57 on Wednesday night.
The Gauchos (3-15 overall, 1-5 in the Big West) led by seven late in the first half but never caught the Matadors (8-12, 4-3) after the visitors took a 28-26 lead on a three-point basket by Michael Warren at the 2:34 mark.
"Right now, we're just not built to win a game when the opponent scores 78 points," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "In the past, we've had teams that could match that, but this team just can't."
CSUN pushed its lead to 36-29 before the end of the half, but a three-pointer at the buzzer by Gabe Vincent cut the advantage to 36-32 at the break. Eric Childress scored the first basket of the second half to make it a 36-34 game, but that was a close as the score would get as the Matadors outscored the Gauchos 42-23 over the final 18:40 of the game.
The Gauchos were led by Vincent who scored all 16 of his points and made all four of his three-point baskets in the first half. Max Heidegger added 10 points while freshman Tyler Jackson added career-highs of eight points and seven rebounds.
With his four three-point baskets, Vincent now has 185 passed Orlando Johnson for 9th on the school's all-time list.
As has been the case for much of the season, UCSB had its issues shooting the ball, finishing at 35.8% overall, 23.8% from three-point territory and 40.0% from the free throw line. The Gauchos strugged even worse in the second half as they made just 1-of-11 three-point attempts, 9.1%.
"When you shoot like that, it really wears on you," Williams said. "As much as you try to fight through it is just really tough. I thought tonight, for the first time in a while, we got down. We did some good things, especially in the first half, but when you stop making shots your whole personality can change."
Rakim Luben led a balanced CSUN attack with 17 points. Warren added 13 and Darin Johnson had 12. Tavrion Dawson had nine points, 12 rebounds and five assists.
UCSB will travel to the University of Hawai'i on Saturday, Jan. 28 game for a 9:30 p.m. (PST) game against the Rainbow Warriors.