Feb. 25, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Despite playing one of its best defensive games of the season, UC Santa Barbara could not hold a 13-point second half lead and dropped a 62-57 decision at Cal State Northridge on Wednesday night. The loss ended UCSB's four-game winning streak.
The Gauchos (12-14 overall, 5-8 in the Big West) jumped out to a fast start on the first-place Matadors (13-12 overall, 9-4 in the Big West), taking an 11-2 lead just 4:12 into the game. The first half lead ballooned to 12 points at 21-9, before Northridge went on a 14-8 run over the final 10:58 to cut the gap to six, 29-23.
UCSB outshot the Matadors in the first half, 47.4% to 30.8%, and they forced 14 turnovers. The Gauchos, however, also struggled with the ball, committing 15 turnovers.
Northridge cut the Santa Barbara lead to four, 31-27, on a lay-up by Tremaine Townsend with 17:29 to play in the game. Will Brew, Jr., however, scored nine points in a quick 11-2 run by the Gauchos, driving the lead to a game-high 13 at 42-29 with 15:00 remaining in the game.
That was when things came undone for UCSB. The Matadors went on a 17-2 run that was capped by a pair of free throws from Vincent Cordell with 7:51 left, giving his team its first lead of the game, 46-44.
The Gauchos scored three in a row, on a free throw by Chris Devine and a pair on follow by Jesse Byrd, to briefly reclaim the lead, 48-47. But a free throw by Cordell and then a lay-up by Rodrigue Mels, who finished with a game-high 19, with 4:07 to play gave Northridge a lead they never relinquished, 50-48. The Matadors' biggest lead of 57-48 came with 38 seconds to play. UCSB made it interesting in the waning seconds on a pair of three-pointers by Jordan Weiner and three free throws from Paul Roemer, but they could never get closer than 60-57 with four seconds remaining.
Santa Barbara finished with a season-high 26 turnovers in the loss. The Matadors had 24. The Gauchos, however, made just 9-of-29 shots in the second half to finish at 37.5% for the game. Northridge hit 53.3% in the second half and ended the game at 39.0%. The also made 27-of-37 free throws while UCSB was 16-of-20.
Byrd paced the Gauchos with 11 points while Brew had 10. The team's leading scorer, Devine, was limited to nine points and five rebounds. Northridge double and triple-teamed him all night and he was held to just five field goal attempts, making three.
UCSB had a season-high 14 steals, led by Roemer who had a career-high five.
The Gauchos will play their final three regular season games at home beginning with UC Davis on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome. Goods seats remain available for the final three games. Tickets are available from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB, or on-line by clicking here.