DAVIS, Calif. - Entering Saturday's game at UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara had a seven-game winning streak with most of the victories coming by double-figures. In fact, in the first game of the two-game series on Friday night, the Gauchos recorded a relatively easy 72-51 victory, leading from start to finish.
On Saturday, that was not the case.
UCSB (12-3 overall, 6-2 Big West) and UC Davis (3-5, 0-2) battled in a tense game that went overtime with the Gauchos prevailing, 89-86 extending their winning streak to eight-straight games.
In a see-saw game, Santa Barbara needed help late at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime.
With the game tied at 80, Aggie guard Ezra Majon made a 30-foot three-pointer with 46 seconds to play, giving his team an 83-80- lead. The triple came after Manjon had missed a driving layup and Elijah Pepper collected the offensive rebound.
Following Majon's huge three, Gaucho forward Destin Barnes was fouled while attempting a leaner in the lane. Barnes went to the line for a pair of shots. He missed the first and made the second with 19 seconds left in the game, pulling UCSB to within 83-81.
On the following possession, Davis forward Kennedy Koehler was fouled by Josh Pierre-Louis while going in for a layup. Koehler went to the line to shoot a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left and his team leading 83-81. Koehler missed both free throws and the second miss was rebounded by JaQuori McLaughlin.
After a timeout, McLaughlin missed a long three-point attempt, but it was rebounded by Jay Nagle who attempted a put-back and was fouled with just under four seconds to play. Nagle who came into the game after Miles Norris (17 points) departed following a pair of technical fouls, calmly made both free throws to tie the score at 83-83 with just under 00:03 to play.
McLaughlin recorded a steal on the deep inbounds pass, sending the game into overtime.
The Gauchos started the overtime with baskets by Ajare Sanni and McLaughlin, giving the them an 87-83 lead. But Davis was not done. Koehler made a pair of free throws at the 1:49 mark to make it an 87-85 game, and after a miss by Amadou Sow, Manjon made 1-of-2 free throw attempts to make it an 87-86 game at the 00:24 mark.
Manjon missed the second free throw and it was rebounded by Sow, who was fouled. He went to the free throw line and made a pair of free throws with just under 15 seconds to play, extending the lead to 89-86.
Manjon and Elijah Pepper both missed three-point attempts in the final seconds of the overtime as UCSB won its eighth-straight game.
The Gauchos were led by Sanni with 22 points, including a huge three-point basket near the end of regulation that helped force the overtime. It was his highest point total at UCSB. McLaughlin finished with 18 points, while Norris had 17 (before being ejected) and Brandon Cyrus had a season-high 10.
Sow had nine points and nine rebounds, while Devearl Ramsey had seven points before fouling out.
The Aggies were led by Pepper with 23 points. Manjon added 19.
UCSB was scheduled to host Long Beach State for a pair of games at the Thunderdome on Feb. 5-6, but for the second time this season, Long Beach has been forced to pause all activities so its two-game trip up the coast has been postponed/canceled. The Gauchos will travel to play a pair of games at Hawai'i on Feb. 12-13 with tip-off times scheduled for 9:00 p.m. (PST) and 7:00 p.m. (PST) respectively.
Article courtesy of UCSB Athletics.