Feb. 8, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Cecil Brown scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half to lead UC Santa Barbara past visiting UC Irvine 71-62 for its fourth-straight basketball victory Thursday night.
The win keeps the Gauchos (15-6, 6-2 Big West Conference) a half-game behind first-place Long Beach State, which will play at Santa Barbara on Saturday night.
Patrick Sanders rallied the Anteaters (11-14, 5-6) to within a point, 55-54, with a pair of free throws with 4:47 remaining. Sanders led Irvine with 19 points and added eight rebounds while Chuma Awaji scored 18 points.
But Brown scored 14 points in the last 4:21, which included a four-point play with 1:48 to go. UCSB shot 54.5 percent in the second half and 46.8 for the game while holding the Anteaters to 39.6 percent.
"Cecil was our money-man tonight," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "He made every big shot, not just the four-point play. I have said since he was a freshman that he is one of the smartest players I've ever coached. Tonight he realized in the second half what he could, and needed, to do, and he did it. This was a great game for Cecil."
In addition to his game-high 23 points, Brown added a game-high four assists. Devine added 11 for the Gauchos, who won despite being outrebounded, 39-26.
Harris, the Big West's leading scorer entering play tonight, went down with an ankle injury in the final minute of the first half. He did return and, though a bit hobbled, played much of the second half.
"Irvine did the best job of guarding Alex of any team this year," Williams said. "They doubled him strong and denied him the dribble. Pat Douglass teams are extremely well coached and they play outstanding defense and tonight they did a great job on Al."
The win by UCSB ended a two-game home losing streak.
The Gauchos and first-place Long Beach State will tip-off at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night at the Thunderdome. The game, which will be televised on Fox Sports Prime Ticket, will give UCSB an opportunity to avenge an 36-point loss earlier in the season.