Gauchos Second Half Rally Not Enough in 67-64 Loss to UC Davis

Max Heidegger (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Max Heidegger (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara fought back from nine-point second half deficit to take a late lead on Saturday night against UC Daivs, but in the end the Aggies were too much and defeated the Gauchos, 67-64. 

UCSB (3-18 overall, 1-8 in the Big West) had a chance to tie the score when, trailing by three, Max Heidegger was fouled attempting a three-pointer with 2.4 seconds remaining. But Heidegger missed the first of the three free throw attempts, made the second and then inadvertently banked in the third to make the score 65-64 Aggies (14-9, 6-2). 

Davis guard Brynton Lemar was fouled intentionally with just over a second to play and he made both free throws for the final margin. 

"We really battled hard tonight," said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams. "I thought we got some good minutes from a lot of players and gained some confidence. The guys kind of rallied around the absence of Gabe (Vincent) and gave us some good performances." 

Vincent, the team's leading scorer and co-captain, tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in Thursday's loss to Cal State Fullerton and will miss 6-8 months.

On Saturday, UCSB trailed 53-44 with 8:19 to play but went on a 13-3 run to take a 57-56 lead on a lay-up by Alex Hart. The Aggies responded with a jump hook by Chima Moneke and a pair of free throws by Darius Graham to claim a 60-57 edge with 54 seconds to play. 

A free throw by Heidegger shaved the lead to 60-58 with 41 seconds left, but Lemar nailed a free throw line jumper to make it a four-point game with 27 seconds left. At the 15-second mark, Heidegger made a driving lay-up to halve the advantage. Lemar made 1-of-2 free throws to make it a three-point game again with 14 seconds remaining. 

On the next possession, Heidegger was fouled intentionally and made both free throws with seven seconds on the clock. Graham was then fouled intentionally and made both free throws, setting the stage for the dramatic ending. 

Hart recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead UCSB. Childress had 11 points, five assists, four rebounds and a pair of steals. Heidegger finished with 10 points, all in the last 6:30, and a career-high four assists. Maxwell Kupchak added eight points and eight boards. 

"We lost this game because we just couldn't get defensive rebounds," Williams said. "They (UC Davis) just kicked our behinds on the boards and that was the difference." 

The Aggies outrebounded the Gauchos 42-31. They were led by Lemar who had 17 points. Siler Schneider added 14 points and six rebounds while Moneke had nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds.

As a team, Santa Barbara shot 43.6% overall, including 48.3% in the second half. Davis made just 38.9%, but made 20-of-32 free throws compared to the Gauchos 9-of-13. 

UCSB will travel to UC Irvine on Wednesday, Feb. 8 for a 7:00 p.m. game against the Anteaters.