Nov. 9, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - In UC Santa Barbara's exhibition opener against UC San Diego, guard Cecil Brown played his first game after missing the entire 2004-05 regular season with a variety of injuries. In Wednesday night's 96-56 exhibition win over Westmont College, Brown showed that he is not only back, but that he is better than ever.
In just 23 minutes of play, Brown scored 25 points, eight more than his regular season career-high. He made 9-of-13 shots overall and 4-of-5 from three-point range to lead the rout. Brown, in fact, left the game with just under 14 minutes remaining when he got a cramp in his right leg.
"I thought Cecil was just outstanding tonight," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "We know how explosive and efficient he can be offensively and we've been seeing that in practices since October. Tonight I thought he was really firing on all cylinders and he really got into a flow offensively."
The Gauchos jumped out to a 7-0 lead to open the game and the Warriors never pulled closer than five the rest of the game. With 4:16 to play in the first half, Brown made a 15-foot jumper to make it 30-19 UCSB. The lead never dropped below double-digits after that.
After Westmont's Santiago Aguirre made two free throws for the first points of the second half, cutting the gap to 41-27, Brown made a three-point basket to ignite a 12-2 run that ended in another three-pointer by Brown to give UCSB a 53-29 lead.
The Gauchos had another impressive run midway through the second half. After Warrior guards Kevin Bartel and Tyler Dutton made back-to-back three-point baskets to pull their team to within 56-37, UCSB went on a 27-6 run over the next eight minutes. Ironically, Brown began that run as well by making one out of two free throw attempts. After he made the second of the two free throw attempts, he left the game for good.
The 27-6 run was highlighted by the play of freshmen guards Lance Hurdle and James Powell. Hurdle had just four points during the run, but he also had four steals and three assists. Powell made a pair of three-pointers from NBA range during the run and he assisted on two other baskets.
"Those two (Hurdle and Powell) really gave a glimpse of what they are capable of tonight," Williams said. "They have an opportunity to be really, really good players and both of them have the ability to do what they did tonight on a regular basis. Lance is so quick that he is kind of an X-factor out there. James has such great range on his shot that he is always a threat. I was very pleased with the play of our freshmen guards tonight."
UCSB received major contributions from numerous sources. In addition to Brown's 25 points, Powell finished with 12 points. He was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field with all three coming from beyond the three-point arc. Josh Davis had 11 points, five rebounds and three assists. Hurdle made all four of his shots, all from two-point range, to finish with eight points, four rebounds, four assists and six steals in just 15 minutes. Sophomore forward Chris Devine had eight points, a team-high six rebounds and five assists. Sophomore guard Alex Harris had just five points, but he led UCSB with six assists. Senior forward Cameron Goettsche, making his debut after recovering from a sprained ankle, played 13 minutes, made all four of his field goal attempts and finished with eight points.
UCSB also had another solid defensive effort. The Gauchos limited Westmont to 42.3% shooting, but also forced the Warriors into 28 turnovers. On the other side of the coin, the Gauchos had just 10 turnovers to go with their 25 assists. Santa Barbara had 14 steals in the game, including 10 in the second half. UCSB made 37-of-70 shots from the field, 52.9%, and 10-of-19 shots from beyond the three-point arc, 52.6%. In their exhibition opener against UC San Diego, the Gauchos attempted just three three-point baskets and made none.
Forward Nick Debban led Westmont with 22 points and seven rebounds.
UCSB, which was playing without injured regulars Glenn Turner (knee) and Derek Rasp (back), return to action on Friday, Nov. 18, when it opens the regular season with a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome against the University of San Francisco.