UCSB Battles Past UC Riverside for Fourth Straight Win, 76-69

Christian Terrell (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Christian Terrell (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Jalen Canty scored 20 points, Gabe Vincent added 18 and Christian Terrell scored a career-high 13 to pace visiting UC Santa Barbara to its fourth consecutive win, 76-69 over UC Riverside on Saturday. 

On a night when their two leading scorers combined to miss 17 of 20 field goal attempts and score just 14 points, the Gauchos (16-5 overall, 5-2 in the Big West) needed contributions from other players and they got just that. 

"You're going to have nights like that, when your shots just don't fall," said head coach Joe Pasternack. "Jalen, Gabe and Christian really stepped up on the offensive end. Winning on the road is never easy and we didn't figure it would be tonight and it wasn't." 

UCSB raced to an early 27-12 lead, but the Highlanders (5-16, 0-7) fought back. The lead was down to 11 by halftime and when Menno Dijkstra grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a put-back with 12:42 left, it had dwindled to two, 51-47. 

Terrell, who scored nine of his points in the first half, then scored the two consecutive baskets, the first on a free throw line jumper and the second on a fancy reverse scoop shot, to push the lead back to 55-47.

Brandon Rosser, who scored a career-high 17 for Riverside, drained a three-pointer from the right corner, but Vincent responded with his third triple of the game to push his team's lead back to 58-50. Canty then scored on a lay-up and the lead was back to double-digits, 60-50. 

Rosser then made three free throws after he was fouled while attempting another three, and Chance Murray, who finished with a team-high 18 and 11 assists, made a nice drive to the basket to make it a 60-55 game with just over eight minutes left. 

Once again, Vincent had the answer as he made his fourth three-point basket of the game, moving him into a tie with James Powell for second on UCSB's all-time list, extending the lead back to 63-55. 

"I felt like I had a good rhythm on my shot tonight," Vincent said. "With some other guys struggling I felt I needed to step-up and it felt good to see some shots fall."

Vincent made 4-of-5 three-point shots on the night and added four assists. 

A short jumper by Rosser was matched by a pair of Max Heidegger free throws. Then, a powerful rebound and put-back by Canty, extended the lead back to 67-57 with 3:02 remaining. It never drifted below seven the rest of the way. 

Heidegger, the Big West's leading scorer finished with a season-low eight points on 2-for-9 from the field and just 1-for-5 from three-point range. Leland King II, who came into the game averaging 16 points per game, made just 1-of-11 field goal attempts, a three, to finish with a season-low six points. He did have a game-high 12 rebounds. 

In addition to the big nights from Canty, Vincent and Terrell, UCSB committed just six turnovers, one more than its season-low. 

"We had just six turnovers and to do that on the road is big," Pasternack said. "You look at our starting backcourt and they had just one between them. That's really good."

The teams finished with identical shooting nights at 26-of-59, 44.1%. Riverside had a 10-9 advantage in three-point baskets, but the Gauchos outscored the Highlanders from the free throw line, 15 to 7.

UCSB returns home for a pair of games next weekend, hosting Hawai'i on Thursday, Feb. 1, and Cal State Northridge on Saturday, Feb. 3. Both games will tip-off at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.