Dec. 1, 2007
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - In what is fast becoming a habit, UC Santa Barbara parlayed another strong second half performance into its fifth straight win, 63-56 at Loyola Marymount on Saturday night.
Once again, the Gauchos (7-1) overcame a sluggish first half that saw them score just 23 points and shoot a mere 26.7%. The Lions (2-6) matched UCSB's first half struggles with just 21 points and a 27.3% field goal mark.
On Tuesday night, in a 63-60 win over UNLV, the Gauchos scored just 16 firt half points before going for 47 in the second half. On Saturday, they outscored LMU 40-35 in the final 20 minutes, making 57.1% of their shots.
"I'm not sure I can pinpoint the reason for that pattern," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "I guess I would rather have it in that order than the other way around, but I'm not sure exactly why it has been happening like that."
Senior guard Alex Harris led Santa Barbara with 21 points, including 13 in the second half. Junior forward Chris Devine had 13, 11 of which were scored after halftime. James Powell (11) and Ivan Elliott (10) were also in double-figures. All 10 of Elliott's points came in the second half.
UCSB had a nine-point lead on a couple of occasions in the second half, the last one being at 49-40 with 9:08 to play. LMU, which was led by guard Shawn Deadwiler who scored 23 points, got as close as three points at 59-56 with 1:05 left, but could get no closer as the Gauchos made four of five free throws in the final minute.
Santa Barbara forced the Lions into 24 turnovers, the second highest opponent total of the season. LMU, however, outrebounded the Gauchos 37-33. Guard Jon Ziri had a game-high 12 boards. UCSB was led by Devine who had nine. Powell added six rebounds and five assists.
The five-game winning streak is UCSB's longest since the 2002-03 season and the Gauchos are 7-1 for the first time since the 1992-93 season.
Santa Barbara returns home for its next two games. The Gauchos host Pepperdine on Wednesday, Dec. 5 in a 7:00 p.m. game.