Nov. 6, 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Four of UC Santa Barbara's five starters struggled in Monday night's exhibition win over Westmont College, but the one who didn't, Alex Harris, poured in 36 points to lead the Gauchos to a 76-68 win over the visiting Warriors.
Harris, whose regular season career-high is 17, made 12-of-23 shots from the field, including 3-of-5 from three-point range, and 9-of-12 free throws, en route to his 36. He also added five rebounds, five assists and five steals in his 38 minutes. UCSB needed all it could get from its junior guard. The other four Gaucho starters, Chris Devine, Ivan Elliott, Tom Garlepp and James Powell, combined for nine points on 3-of-21 from the field.
"You really have to marvel at Al," said Santa Barbara head coach Bob Williams. "He really did everything out there. I thought his aggressiveness on both ends of the floor was really outstanding. He is playing with some much confidence and, at some point, that's got to rub off on others."
While the UCSB starters, outside of Harris, struggled, the bench came through. Freshman walk-on Paul Roemer made 3-of-4 shots overall and 2-of-3 from three-point range and finished with 11 points, all in the second half. Sophomore forward Beau Gibb, a transfer from Robert Morris, had 10 points and five rebounds and junior guard Trevor Bing added 10 points, three rebounds and four assists.
"I thought the bench really sparked us," Williams said. "Most of our starters, for whatever reason, were struggling and we needed something to shake us up."
Roemer's first three-point basket turned a 52-50 Westmont lead into a 53-52 Gaucho edge. His second three, with 5:29 remaining, broke a 59-56 tie and gave UCSB the lead for good.
While the Gauchos struggled offensively, the Warriors did not. Senior forward Santiago Aguirre made 11-of-14 shots and had 27 points to go with a team-high five assists. Guard Josh Ware had 17 points and was 5-of-6 from three-point range. Aguirre and Ware led a Westmont attack that made 27-of-44 shots overall, 61.4%. UCSB made just 26-of-63 shots, 41.3%. The Gauchos had 23 offensive rebounds and finished with a 39-25 rebound edge. Elliott and Garlepp each had nine rebounds for game-high honors.
"Even though their shots weren't falling, Tom (Garlepp) and Ivan (Elliott) were very active on the boards," commented Williams. "Tom has been very active in both games and he will be okay. Ivan gets his hands on so many balls and when his shots start falling, he will be fine."
Devine played sporadic minutes because of foul trouble. He also banged heads with a Warrior player midway through the first half and seemed dazed for some time after. The Gauchos were already without starters Cecil Brown (stress fracture) and Glenn Turner (groin).
UCSB, which completed the exhibition schedule with a 2-0 record, will open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 10, when it hosts San Jose State at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.