Hot Shooting Second Half Propels UCSB Over Portland, 75-67

Dec. 3, 2006

Box Score

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Alex Harris scored 24 points and Chris Devine added 20 as UC Santa Barbara registered a 75-67 nonconference victory over Portland on Saturday.

James Powell added 17 for the Gauchos (5-2), who hit 9 of 14 3-point shots. Harris and Powell each had four of those 3-pointers. In fact, the trio combined for 40 points in the second half as the Gauchos made 62.1% of their shots in the final 20 minutes.

Harris hit his first 3-pointer nine minutes into the game to give Santa Barbara an 18-15 lead. But then the Gauchos went ice cold and went more than seven minutes without scoring a point. Portland responded to that cold spell with a 15-7 run that gave the Pilots a 30-25 lead late in the first half.

But Harris' 3-pointer at the buzzer cut the Gauchos' deficit to 30-28 at intermission. Santa Barbara took the lead for good when Powell hit a 3-pointer to make it 38-36 with 16 minutes left in the game.

Portland cut its deficit to 42-41 when Ben Sullivan hit a 3-pointer, his only one of the game, with 12:19 left. But the Gauchos answered with six straight points, including a dunk by Harris, to push the lead back to 48-41.

The teams traded baskets for most of the remainder of the game but Santa Barbara's lead continued to grow as the Gauchos hit four 3-pointers in a three-minute span that pushed their lead to 62-53 with 6:05 left.

Portland cut the margin to 68-63 when Sherrard Watson hit a 3-pointer with 1:19 left. Then the Gauchos scored seven of the game's next nine points to put the contest away.

The Pilots were led by Watson and Walter Thompson with 13 points each.

The win not only improves UCSB to 5-2 overall, but to a perfect 4-0 on the road. It is the first 4-0 start by the Gauchos since the 1992-93 and with wins at Montana State, UNLV and Portland, to go with a season-opening home win over San Jose State, Santa Barbara has won games in four different states in the same season since the 1989-90 season.

The Gauchos face a very difficult task in their next game as they host unbeaten Fresno State (7-0) on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at the Thunderdome.