Jan. 13, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
UC Santa Barbara limped home from a three-game road journey with three losses and just seven healthy players, but on Thursday night, the Gauchos got healthy at home with a 76-56 win over visiting Cal Poly.
While just one of the injured players returned against the Mustangs (3-10 overall, 1-5 in the Big West), it was enough. Junior forward Cameron Goettsche, who missed last weekend's games at Utah State and Idaho, and was doubtful for the game against Cal Poly, played 21 minutes, scored seven points and led the Gauchos (5-8 overall, 3-3 in the Big West) with eight rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. He also had two spectacular slam dunks in the first half that seemed to spark UCSB.
"Cameron gave us 21 inspired minutes," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "I didn't expect to play him that many minutes, but he felt okay and was a real key. The big test will be how he feels tomorrow. We won't know if he can go Saturday (vs. UC Davis) until we know how he is doing on Friday."
Goettsche was a key, but certainly not the only contributor. Freshman walk-on Derek Rasp, making his third consecutive start at the four spot, made 4-out-of-5 three-point attempts and scored a career-high 14. Rasp scored 11 of his points in the decisive first half, including a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded, to help the Gauchos to a 42-30 lead at the break.
"I was a little nervous out there," Rasp said of his first start at the Thunderdome. "But starting the two games last weekend really helped me calm down. I felt good tonight and I was in a nice rhythm and my shots were just falling."
Rasp's buzzer-beating three-pointer to end the first half gave UCSB its largest lead to that point, and the Gauchos did not let up in the second half, going on a 28-11 run in the first 15 minutes to build a game-high 29-point lead, 70-41. Santa Barbara coasted to the finish, never seeing its lead drop below 20.
Freshman guard Alex Harris had one of his best all-around games for the Gauchos, finishing with 13 points to go with four rebounds, and career-highs of five assists and two blocked shots. Sophomore forward Glenn Turner tallied a career-high 12 points, and he added seven rebounds. Senior guard Chrismen Oliver added 10 points and four assists, and junior guard Joe See had a season-high five assists.
UCSB played well on the defensive end as well, limiting Cal Poly to just 29.8% shooting overall and 24.1% from three-point range. The Mustangs, who never led in the game, were paced by junior guard Fernando Sampson, who tied his career-high with 11 points. Nick Enzweiler and Mike Titchenal each added 10 points.
The Gauchos return to action on Saturday, January 15, when they host UC Davis in a 7:00 p.m. non-conference game at the Thunderdome. The Aggies will join the Big West Conference in two years.