January 28, 2006

Gauchos Can't Sustain Second Half Rally, Lose to Pacific 65-53

Jan. 28, 2006

Final Stats

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara rallied from a 14-point first half deficit to take a five-point second half lead, but the University of the Pacific responded with a decisive 11-0 run and pulled away for a 65-53 win at Santa Barbara on Saturday night.

The Tigers (14-6 overall, 4-2 in the Big West) jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first 1:14 of the game and ultimately piled-up a lead of 14 points at 35-21 with 2:52 to go in the first half. The Gauchos (7-11 overall, 1-6 in the Big West) used an 8-3 rally in the waning minutes and went into the halftime locker room trailing 38-29.

UCSB forward Glenn Turner scored the first basket of the second half to narrow the gap to 38-31. Pacific forward Christian Maraker, who finished with a game-high 20 points, missed a shot a committed a turnover resulting in a short turnaround jumper by Chris Devine and a pair of free throw Cecil Brown and the lead was down to 38-35 with 18:06 to go in the game.

Neither team scored again until Devine hit back-to-back shots. The second of his baskets came with 15:38 remaining in the game and it capped a 10-0 rally, giving the Gauchos their first lead of the game, 39-38.

With the score tied at 42-42, UCSB guard Michael Chambers hit second three-pointer of the game to give the Gauchos a 45-42 edge. After a pair of Pacific missed shots and a turnover, Brown made a lay-up to give Santa Barbara its biggest lead of the game, 47-44, and that was when the Tigers went to work.

Johnny Gray made a free throw line jumper and reserve guard Steffan Johnson drained a three-pointer from deep in the right corner to tie the score at 47 apiece. Then, with UCSB missing shots and turning the ball over, Pacific continued to roll. Anthony Esparza made a turnaround jumper, Johnson scored on a breakaway lay-in off a turnover and then made two free throws to complete an 11-0 Tiger run and make the score 53-47.

After the teams traded baskets and the score was 55-49 Pacific, Maraker, a senior and leading candidate for Big West Player of the Year honors, took over. He scored his team's next 10 points, the final two on a breakaway slam dunk to give the Tigers a 63-53 advantage. Esparza made a pair of free throws with just 22 seconds remaining for the final score, 65-53.

Devine joined Brown in double-figures for UCSB with 12 points. Turner, making his first start of the season, played a season-high 26 minutes and responded with seven points and a game-high and career-high 11 rebounds. Mike Webb scored 11 points for Pacific and Maraker had seven rebounds and three steals to go with his 20 points.

UCSB, which was outrebounded 15-7 in the first half, wound up winning the battle of the boards, 28-27. The Gauchos, however, committed 19 turnovers and Pacific had 12 steals. Santa Barbara also finished the game at 44.9% shooting from the field after making 52.2% in the first half. Pacific, which hit 58.3% in the first half, finished at 47.9%.

UCSB has now lost three straight games for the second time this season. The Gauchos have also dropped three straight home games for the first time since losing four in a row at the outset of Bob Williams' first season, 1998-99.

UCSB returns to action on Thursday, Feb. 2, when it hosts future Big West opponent UC Davis in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.

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