UC SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Devearl Ramsey scored a game-high 15 points and Amadou Sow added a double-double with 14 points and a season-high 14 rebounds as UC Santa Barbara won its third straight game, a 69-52 decision over visiting UC San Diego on Friday evening.
The Gauchos (7-3 overall, 3-2 Big West) overcame a stubborn UCSD (2-2, 0-1) team that is playing its first season in the Big West Conference.
The Tritons hung around for much of the game before UCSB pulled out to a double-digit lead with just over eight minutes to play. The Gauchos finished the game by outscoring San Diego 30-15 over the final 17 minutes and 34-22 overall in the second half.
"I thought the key to the game was holding them to 32% in the second half," Head Coach Joe Pasternack said. "For us to be where we want to be, we have to be able to defend and rebound.
"Amadou got 14 rebounds tonight — that was huge. JaQuori from the guard position had seven rebounds. That's how we have to be."
UCSB used a mini-run of 10-4 to close the first half, turning a 26-25 deficit into a 35-30 lead. Ramsey, who was 3-for-4 from three-point range in the first half, drained a pair in the final 1:41 to help push his team into its biggest lead at the break.
After UCSB made the first basket of the second half to extend the lead to 37-30, Mikey Howell made a floater in the lane and a three-pointer to pull UCSD within 37-35 with 18:33 left in the game. Sow answered with the jump-hook in the lane, but a layup by Jake Killingsworth carved the gap to 39-37 at the 17:13 mark. Another basket by Sow and a free throw by Robinson Idehen stretched the advantage to 42-37 at the 14:56 mark.
"Devearl Ramsey, in the first half, hit three huge threes to keep us in the game," Pasternack said. "In the second half, I thought we were really balanced."
Gabe Hadley followed a Killingsworth three-point miss with a put-back, cutting the lead to 42-39 at the 13:39 mark, but baskets by Sow, Ramsey and Miles Norris gave Santa Barbara a 48-39 lead with 11:54 remaining in the game. Howell made 2-of-2 free throws with 9:04 to play, making it a 48-41 contest. The lead stayed within single-digits over the next several minutes, with the teams trading basklets. The Gaichos had a 10-point lead on a layup by McLaughlin with 8:23 to play, and then a 12-point lead on a short jumper by Robinson Idehen with 7:40 left.
Back-to-back baskets by Toni Rocak cut the lead to 54-46 with 6:28 remaining in the game. A free throw and short jumper by Ajare Sanni, and another jump hook by Sow made it a 59-46 game with under four minutes to play. Rocak made 1-for-2 from the free throw line to make it a 59-47, but that was it for the UCSD.
Robinson Idehen, who finished with 12 points, six rebounds and a pair of blocked shots, hit a short put-back and then a free throw to extend the lead to 62-47.
Bryce Pope, who finished with a team-high 13 points, made a short jumper to make it a 62-49 game, but a 7-3 finish by UCSB resulted in the final score, 69-52.
In addition to Ramsey and Sow scoring in double-figures, UCSB had JaQuori McLaughin finished with 11 points and Idehen with 12. McLaughlin also had seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Idehen also scored in double-digits with 12 points. He added six rebonds and a pair of blocked shots.
As a team, the Gauchos shot 43.9% from the field, while the Tritons were at 38.9%. UCSB had a huge rebound advantage at 45-28. Norris added eight to Sow's 14, McLaughlin's seven and Idehen's six.
UCSB forced UCSD into 19 turnovers. The Gauchos had just 11. McLaughlin had four steals, giving him nine in the last two games.
"Defense fuels our offense," Pasternack said. "Our shots won't always be falling, but when we're able to get stops, that helps us go."
UCSB has played just 10 games, five of which are league games.
"We played 15 games in the pre-conference last year and the year before, and this year we only played five," Pasternack said. "Right now, we're just at game 10. Hopefully, we can just keep getting better and better, but we need game reps."
The Gauchos and Tritons will play the final game of their two-game series on Saturday evening at 5:00 p.m. The game will be carried on ESPN3.
Article courtesy of UCSB Athletics