Dec. 7, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Alex Harris scored 25 points and made a career-best six out of eight shots from three-point range, as UC Santa Barbara won its seventh straight game, 81-61 over visiting Utah Valley University on Friday night.
The Gauchos (9-1) made 12-of-20 shots from three-point territory overall, 60.0%, and have now hit 21-of-33, 63.6%, in the last two games. The Wolverines (3-6) struggled from outside the arc, hitting 6-of-23, 26.1%.
"We were very patient and moved the ball very well," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "When we do that, we get good looks from the outside and we have the type of players who can take advantage of that. On the other hand, I thought our defensive rotations were outstanding. They (Utah Valley) didn't get too many open looks and we had a lot to do with that."
Wolverine guard Ryan Toolson, who tied Harris for game-high honors with 25 points, made one of his four three-pointers with 3:09 to play in the first half, pulling his team within three, 31-28. UCSB, however, closed the half on an 8-0 run, which included a three-pointer by Harris and five free throws, to take a 39-28 halftime lead.
After Ivan Elliott made a lay-up for the first basket of the second half to give the Gauchos a 41-28 lead, Utah Valley scored four in a row to narrow the gap to nine, 41-32. A 13-3 run expanded UCSB's lead to 54-35, and the game was never closer than 17 the rest of the way. The Gauchos led by as many as 24 (67-43) with just over seven minutes to play.
Devine and James Powell each finished with 12 points and Elliott had 11 for UCSB. Elliott and Devine each had a team-high seven rebounds as well. Justin Joyner, who made a pair of three-point baskets, finished with eight points and a season-high seven assists.
The seven-game winning streak is UCSB's longest since the 1988-89 team opened the year with 11 straight wins. The 9-1 record is the best since 1988-89 when the Gauchos were 10-0 after 10 games.
Santa Barbara now take a break for final examinations. The team will return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 19, when it travels to Ball State for a 4:00 p.m. (PST) game. Following the game in Muncie, Ind., the Gauchos will remain on the road for a Dec. 22 game at top-ranked North Carolina.