IRVINE, Calif. – Max Hazzard scored 16 points, double his season average and UC Irvine built a big early lead then cruised to a 69-49 win over visiting UC Santa Barbara on Thursday night.
For the second straight game, the Gauchos (20-7 overall, 9-4 in the Big West) struggled offensively. They made just 18-of-57 field goal attempts, 31.6%, and hit a season-low four three-point baskets. The 49 points were also a season-low and more than 25 points below their season average.They have scored just 103 points in their last two games combined. Also, with the loss, they drop behind but UCI and UC Davis in the league standings.
"They are a good defensive team," said UCSB guard Gabe Vincent. "But that being said, we didn't share the ball well tonight. We had five assists and that's not going to get it done. We need to figure it out and we'll start doing that in practice tomorrow."
The Anteaters (15-15, 10-4) took an insurmountable 37-19 halftime lead and then, led by Hazard's cruised the rest of the way.
Vincent paced the Gauchos with a game-high 17 points, moving into 13th-place in school history in the process with 1,365 for his career. Max Heidegger was the only other Gaucho in double-figures with 11 points.
Evan Leonard added 13 points and Eyassu Worku had 11 for Irvine, which also won the rebound battle, 47-34, finishing with 16 offensive rebounds.
"To beat this team, you've got to rebound," said Gaucho head coach Joe Pasternack. "We outrebounded them at our place and won by 12, but tonight we gave up too many second chances and they took advantage of them."
UCSB will play its final road game on Saturday, Feb. 24 when it travels to Cal State Northridge for a 5:00 p.m. game that will be carried on ESPN3 and Watch ESPN.