Feb. 7, 2009
The Gauchos (9-13 overall, 3-7 in the Big West) trailed the Anteaters (8-15 overall, 5-5 in the Big West) 30-20 with less than three minutes to play in the first half, but scored the final nine points to pull within one, 30-29 at halftime. A lay-up by Devine, a three-pointer by James Powell and a pair of buckets by James Nunnally gave UCSB hope going to the break.
"The way we ended the first half was huge," said Santa Barbara head coach Bob Williams. "To go into the locker room down one after being 10 back so late was real important for our confidence. I thought we carried the momentum over into the second half."
Irvine maintained the lead for the first 10 minutes of the second half. When Michael Hunter made a driving lay-up with 12:17 to play, the Anteaters still led by six, 42-36. A 15-footer by Devine, a three-point shot by Sam Phippen and then a pair of free throws from Jaimé Serna, however, gave the Gauchos their first lead of the game, 43-42 with 9:59 remaining.
After UCI reclaimed the lead 45-43 on an old-fashioned three-point play by Brett Lauer, UCSB went ahead for good on the first of two three-pointers from Brew. His three with 9:12 to play put the Gauchos up 46-45. Serna then made a jumper from the side of the lane to extend the lead to 48-45.
Anteater forward Eric Wise, who finished with a game-high 23 points, pulled his team back within one on a lay-up, but Brew was fouled while attempting a three-pointer and made two out of three free throws to make it 50-47 Gauchos. Wise responded again, bulling his way in for another lay-up, but Brew's second three-pointer of the game gave UCSB its biggest lead to that point, 53-49, with 5:59 to play.
Following consecutive defensive stops, Brew made one out of two free throws and then scored on a lay-up with 4:21 to play, extending the lead to 56-49. The freshman had scored eight straight for the Gauchos.
Wise and Devine traded baskets and UCSB still led by seven, 58-51, with 3:22 left in the game, but a three-pointer by Brett Lauer, his fourth of the game, cut the gap to 58-54. The Anteaters got no closer the rest of the way as the Gauchos ended a four-game losing streak with a 65-56 win.
"This was important for us," Williams said. "We play six of our last seven at home now and we have a chance to get some momentum. Several guys really picked us up tonight and it's good that we can come home on such a positive note."
UCSB shot 45.1% for the game, but made 12-of-20 shots in the second half, 60.0%. The Gauchos were particularly deadly from three-point range in the second half, hitting all four of their attempts.
Devine, who moved into fourth-place on Santa Barbara's all-time scoring list on Thursday night, now has 1,459 after his 19-point performance on Saturday night. He also added five rebounds. For Brew, his 14 points were the second highest total of his career. He had 18, on six three-pointers, the first time the Gauchos and Anteaters met in January.
UCSB also won the battle of the boards, 34-26, and held Irvine to 42.6% from the floor.
The Gauchos return home on Saturday, Feb. 14, when they host Cal Poly in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome. The Valentine's game will be "Date Night at the Thunderdome" with 2-for-1 tickets being offered. Also, the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a special teddy bear.