February 14, 2008

Gauchos Get Defensive in 60-47 Victory Over Visiting Cal Poly

Feb. 14, 2008

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Alex Harris scored 21 points, Chris Devine added 16 and UC Santa Barbara forced 24 turnovers, as the Gauchos defeated visiting Cal Poly on Thursday night, 60-47.

UCSB (18-6 overall, 7-4 in the Big West), which also had a season-high 16 steals, limited the Mustangs (9-14 overall, 4-7 in the Big West) to 34.8% shooting.

"Our defensive energy was good tonight," said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams. "We kind of got into a rhythm on that end and I thought it really made them uncomfortable. It was our goal to pressure Trae (Clark), because playing without Chaz (Thomas) really limited them."

Cal Poly played without Thomas who had a sprained ankle. For their part, the Gauchos played without reserve guard D.J. Posley who was suffering with the flu.

The Mustangs led off-and-on for much of the first half, taking their final lead, 23-21, on a short jumper by Charles Anderson with 3:09 to play. UCSB ended the half on an 8-2 run, including a lay-up by Harris as time ran out. The play began when Jordan Weiner stole the ball from Clark with just over three second left and fed Harris for the basket and the 31-25 lead.

The Gauchos exploded out of the gates in the second half with an 11-1 run over the first seven minutes, taking a commanding 42-26 edge. Several of the baskets early in the second half came inside the paint with Devine and Justin Joyner each making short jumpers, and Harris scoring on a lay-up.

The lead ballooned to 20, 58-38, when Harris made a pair of free throws with 5:25 to play. UCSB scored just two more points, a baseline jumper by Beau Gibb with 1:04 to play, but the lead never dropped below 13.

Clark paced Cal Poly with 14 points while Lorenzo Keeler added eight. Titus Shelton scored just five points, but had a game-high nine rebounds as the Mustangs won the battle of the boards by a whopping 39-22 margin.

Joyner added eight points and three steals for UCSB. Devine and Harris each paced the way with four rebounds. Ivan Elliott, who finished with just two points and one rebound, had team-highs of four steals and four assists. James Powell and Weiner also had three steals apiece.

The Gauchos return to action on Saturday night when they travel to UC Davis for a 7:00 p.m. game against the Aggies.

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