Gauchos Clinch First Round Bye in Big West Tournament With 64-49 Win Over Pacific
March 1, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Alex Harris scored 17 of his game-high 22 points in the second half and James Powell made all four of his three-point attempts to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 64-49 victory over visiting Pacific on Thursday night.
The Gauchos (17-10, 8-5 Big West Conference) clinched a first-round bye in next week's league tournament with the win.
Powell made all four of his 3-point tries, including three in the first half, to help UCSB take a 29-23 lead. He finished with 14 points as the Gauchos made 10-of-19 shots from beyond the 3-point line and shot 45.1 percent overall. Harris made 4-of-5 shots from beyond the arc. In his last four games, the Big West's leading scorer has made 19 three-pointers and in his last three he has hit 14-of-20, 70.0%.
"James and Alex were huge from the outside tonight," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "They were both really feeling it and that made us tough to guard on the perimeter."
Powell and Harris combined to make 9-of-10 three-point shots on the night.
Pacific (11-17, 5-8) shot only 35.2 percent and fell behind by as many as 20 points, 53-33, with 10:14 to go. Anthony Esparza rallied the Tigers to within 11 points, scoring 12 of his team-high 16 points in the final eight minutes. Wolfgang Raffety added 11 points for the Tigers while Anthony Brown had a game-high 12 rebounds. Cecil Brown added 10 points and four assists for UCSB and forward Ivan Elliott came off the bench to add eight points, making all four of his field goal attempts, and a team-high 10 rebounds in just 20 minutes.
"Ivan doesn't miss a beat coming off the bench," Williams said. "He really sparked us tonight. He has such great energy and goes so hard that it's kind of contagious."
The Gauchos will complete the regular season at home on Saturday afternoon when they host Cal State Northridge at 4:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome. The game will mark the final home appearance for two UCSB seniors, Cecil Brown and Glenn Turner. The time of the contest was moved from 7:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to accommodate a Fox Sports broadcast.