JaQuori McLaughlin scored 22 points, Devearl Ramsey added 14 and UC Santa Barbara overcame a bad first half to win its third game in a row and sixth in the last seven, 65-60 at UC Riverside on Thursday night.
In addition to the bad first half, the Gauchos (19-9 overall, 8-5 Big West) overcame the loss of leading scorer Max Heidegger who went down with a left ankle injury midway through the first half.
"It was terrible to see Max go down," said UCSB head coach Joe Pasternack. "But this team has always had the philosophy that it's next man up and tonight, it was Brandon (Cyrus) and Sékou (Touré).
Cyrus scored seven points, but also had a career-high 10 rebounds and a huge blocked shot late in the game. Touré, who had not scored in his last eight appearances, logged 14:34, finishing with three points and four rebounds.
McLaughlin scored his 22 points on 4-for-10 shooting overall, but he was a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range and 10-for-13 from the free throw line. His final three came with 2:19 left in the game and the shot clock running out, giving the Gauchos a 58-53 lead.
Ramsey was 3-for-4 from the field, all from three-point range. He was also perfect from the free throw line as he went 5-for-5, including three with UCSB clinging to a 59-57 lead and just 32 seconds remaining when he was fouled by Zyon Pullin.
"I have a lot of confidence at the free throw line," said Ramsey, who has made 21 straight and 37 of his last 39. "It's something I have worked very hard on and it's great when it pays off."
Following a missed three-pointer by Doinick Pickett on the other end, Touré was fouled and made 1-of-2 charity stripes. The Highlanders' (15-15, 5-9) Martin was fouled while shooting a three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining. He made all three of his free throws to cut the gap to 63-60, but Ramsey was intentionally fouled and made two more free throws with 00:07 remaining to seal the win. A three-point attempt by Arinze Chidom glanced off the rim as time ran out.
Santa Barbara trailed for the first 27 minutes of the game, finally taking the lead on back-to-back three-point baskets by Ramsey and McLaughlin. McLaughlin's three came with 12:35 left in the game, giving his team a 41-38 lead. UCR tied the score at 46 apiece, but another three by McLaughlin with 7:47 to play but the Gauchos up for good, 49-46.
UCSB had an awful first half offensively as it made just 8-of-26 shots overall, 30.8%, and 2-for-6 from three-point territory, 33.3%. Amadou Sow was missed six of seven shots in the first 20 minutes and didn't have a rebound. He finished with six points and five rebounds. The Gauchos fell behind by as many as 10 points in the first half before pulling back to within 25-22. They trailed 30-24 at halftime.
Santa Barbara was better in the second half as it outscored the Highlanders 41-30, making 10-of-22 field goals overall, 5-of-9 from three-point range and 16-of-22 from the free throw line. UCR was just 8-for-25 in the second half overall, 32.0%, and 1-for-8 from three-point range, 12.5%.
UCSB plays its final road game of the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 29 when it travels to defending Big West champion UC Irvine for a 7:00 p.m. game that will be carried on ESPN3. The Gauchos will finish the regular season at home next weekend with games against Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly.
Article courtesy of UCSB Athletics