Feb. 5, 2009
FULLERTON, Calif. - Despite a career-high 20 points and eight rebounds by freshman forward Jaimé Serna and a double-double from senior Chris Devine, visiting UC Santa Barbara succumbed to a strong second half rally by Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night, 72-65.
The Gauchos (8-13 overall, 2-7 in the Big West), who led 42-23 at halftime and then 47-25 with 18:32 to play, saw their lead evaporate and become a fourth straight loss. Fullerton outscored UCSB 47-18 to close the game. The Titans (12-10 overall, 6-4 in the Big West) were led by senior guard Josh Akognon who scored 29 points, including 20 in his team's big second half.
In addition to Serna's 20 point, eight rebound performance, Devine had 20 points and 12 boards. For the senior from Alaska, it was his second straight double-double and his fourth of the season.
"I thought that Chris was great in the first half," began UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "In the second half, Jaimé was our toughest player. He matched them (Fullerton) for toughness, but we just didn't get enough guard play and that killed us in the end."
While UCSB received 48 points from its frontcourt threesome of Serna, Devine, and Jesse Byrd (eight points and four rebounds in 15 minutes), its backcourt players scored just 17 points. The frontcourt also combined to make 19 out of its 33 shots, while the guards hit just 5-of-30.
The Gauchos were outstanding on the boards, outrebounding the Titans 49-32, but they also had 18 turnovers, including 11 in the second half, to contribute to the downfall. Also, after making 43.2% of their shots in the first half, they made just 8-of-26 after halftime, 30.8%. Fullerton, on the other hand, hit just 31.3% in the first half, but bounced back with a 16-for-28 performance in the second half, good for 57.1%. Led by Akognon, who made 5-of-9 three-pointers, the Titans hit 10-of-23 overall and 8-of-13 in the second half. UCSB made just 2-of-9 overall, including 0-for-1 in the final 20 minutes.
Santa Barbara will try to get back on track Saturday when it travels to UC Irvine for a 7:00 p.m. game at the Bren Center against the Anteaters.