Powell, Brew Lead Gauchos to First Big West Win, 68-61 Over UC Irvine

Jan. 8, 2009

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - James Powell scored 19 points and Will Brew, Jr., added a career-high 18 to pace UC Santa Barbara to a 68-61 Big West Conference win over visiting UC Irvine on Thursday night. Brew made his first six three-pointers in the game and finished at 6-for-7.

The Gauchos (7-8 overall, 1-2 in the Big West) jumped out to a 33-21 halftime lead on the strength of a15-point, 5-for-5 three-point shooting display by Brew and 10 points from Powell. In the half, UCSB made 13-of-22 shots from the field, a blistering 59.1%. The Anteaters (3-11 overall, 1-1 in the Big West) made just 9-of-27, 33.3%.

Kevin Bland opened the second half with a short jump shot to cut the lead to 33-23, but Brew responded for the Gauchos with his sixth three-pointer to push the advantage by to 13, 36-23. Michael Hunter scored 10 points during a 24-11 UCI run that tied the score at 41-apiece. The rally was capped by a Brett Lauer three-pointer. During the run, the Anteaters made 10 of their first 12 second half shots, 83.3%.

After the teams traded baskets over a four minute stretch, UCI rallied again, taking its first lead of the second half on a lay-up by Adam Folker with 7:33 to play. James Nunnally was fouled while shooting on the next Gaucho possession, and he made both free throws to help his team regain the lead, 53-52.

Freshman forward Eric Wise, who finished with 13 points, scored on a lay-up with 5:50 remaining to give the Anteaters their last lead, 54-53.

The Gauchos outscored the Anteaters 15-7 the rest of the way with Chris Devine making 7-of-8 free throws and Powell scoring five, including a three-pointer to push the lead to 62-55 with 1:59 left.

For Powell, it was his best offensive game since he had 22 at San Francisco on Nov. 24. He made 7-of-10 shots overall, and 1-of-2 from three-point range. Combined, he and his backcourt partner, Brew, had 37 points on 13-of-17 shooting overall and 7-of-9 from beyond the three-point line.

"It was good to see James shoot the ball so well," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "For him to have 19 points and take only two three-pointers is huge. I thought that, for the most part, his shot selection tonight was very good."

As a team, UCSB shot 55.3% for the game while limiting UCI to 43.6. After making 10-of-12 shots to open the second half, the Anteaters made five of their final 13 attempts. They were led by Hunter who finished with 17 points. As a team, the Gauchos were outrebounded 30-25 and they allowed UCI to collect 13 offensive rebounds.

Devine finished with 11 points, but took just four field goals, making two, and going 7-for-8 from the free throw line. D.J. Posley and Jaimé Serna each added six points, and Posley had four assists.

UCSB returns home on Saturday, Jan. 10 to host Cal State Fullerton in a game that will be broadcast by Fox Sports Prime Ticket. The first 1,000 fans into the game will receive Fanbannas. Also, the 150 local third grade students who graduated from the Gaucho basketball Mathlete Program will be honored at halftime, and it is a News-Press Kids-to-College night with all kids getting into the game free. Tickets for the game are available from 9-4 on Friday from the ticket office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB, or on-line at UCSBgauchos.com.