DAVIS, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara used a stifling defensive performance and a balanced and efficient offense to win its seventh straight game, 72-51 at UC Davis on Friday.
The Gauchos (11-3 overall, 5-2 Big West) jumped out to a 7-0 lead early, a 36-16 lead at halftime and never looked back. The Aggies (3-4, 0-1) got within 12 in the second half, but could get no closer.
After Miles Norris opened the game with a three-point basket from the left corner, the Gauchos missed their next five shots, but that was nothing compared to Davis, which missed its first 13 field goal attempts and finished the first half at 6-for-32, 18.8%.
The Gauchos had their largest lead at 40-18 on Ramsey layup just a minute into the second half. The Aggies would creep to within 12 on two occasions, the last time at 47-35 on a layup by Cameron Ba with 12:41 remaining in the game.
A layup by Christian Anigwe at the 8:48 mark made it a 56-43 game, but a layup by Ajare Sanni, back-to-back baskets by Amadou Sow and another layup by Destin Barnes gave UCSB an 8-0 run and an insurmountable 64-43 advantage with 5:33 on the clock.
A driving layup by Josh Pierre-Louis with 37 second to play gave Santa Barbara a 72-50 lead, equaling the biggest lead of the game. A free throw by Aggie Ran Pehka in the final seconds made the final score 72-51.
The Gauchos hit 30-of-51 field goal attempts for the game, 58.8%, including 16-of-23 in the second half. They had five players score in double-figures as McLaughlin, Ramsey and Sanni each scored 11, while Sow and Norris had 10 apiece. Sow added eight rebounds and Norris had seven as UCSB had a 36-30 rebounding edge.
Davis was led by Damion Squire with 14 points and Elijah Pepper with nine. B.J. Shaw, the son of former Gaucho great Brian Shaw, added seven points and nine rebounds for the Aggies, who made just 18-of-58 field goals overall, 31.0%, and 3-for-14 from three-point range, 75.0%.
The seven-game winning streak is the team's longest since head coach Joe Pasternack's first season when it had an eight-game streak during conference play. That was the program's longest streak since the end of the 2015-16 season when UCSB won nine consecutive.
The Gauchos and Aggies play the second game of their Big West Conference series on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. in the Pavilion.
Saturday's game at Davis game could be the last one for UCSB for a couple of weeks. Games scheduled at the Thunderdome against Long Beach State on Feb. 5 and Feb. 6 have been canceled as Long Beach is once again in COVID-19 protocol and began a two-week pause on Friday. If that is the case, the Gauchos' next games after Saturday would be a pair at Hawai'i on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13.
Article courtesy of UCSB Athletics