Feb. 3, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
UC Santa Barbara used a stifling defense and a 19-0 second half run, to ease past visiting Idaho on Thursday night, 54-40, ending a three-game losing streak.
UCSB (8-11 overall, 5-6 in the Big West) trailed 37-35 when Vandal guard Tihon Johnson made a leaning jump shot just inside the free throw line with 10:36 remaining in the game. Idaho (7-14 overall, 5-5 in the Big West), however, did not score again, until just over a minute remained in the contest. Guard Joe See made a long three-pointer to give the Gauchos a 38-37 lead with 9:29 remaining, and that started the 19-0 surge that gave UCSB an insurmountable 54-37 advantage.
Guard Chrismen Oliver, who finished with a game-high 17 points, had five points during Santa Barbara's rally. Forward Cameron Goettsche, who had 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds, had six points in the 19-0 stretch, including a pair of slam dunks. UCSB, which finished with 10 steals in the game, had seven in the second half and five in the final 10 minutes.
In addition to the seven second half steals, the Gauchos limited the Vandals to just 15 points and 30.0% shooting in the final 20 minutes. For the game, UCSB outshot Idaho 47.6% to 35.6%. The Gauchos also outrebounded the Vandals, 32-25, and although they committed 12 turnovers, only three came in the second half.
"I thought that just might have been our best defensive game of the year," commented UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "We played strong, inside and out, and really took some things away from them (Idaho). They are a very patient team and they force you to play 30 or more seconds of defense on each possession. Tonight, we stuck with it and played defense for whole possessions and that was a nice thing to see."
Guard Dandrick Jones paced Idaho with 15 points. Forward Anton Lyons had a game-high 10 rebounds.
Oliver had three steals to go with his game-high 17 points. Freshman guard Alex Harris had eight points, all in the second half, and career-high four steals.
UCSB remains at home for one more game before hitting the road for three. The Gauchos host Utah State on Saturday night in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.