With UCSB’s 78-66 drubbing of Cal Poly on Saturday night, Gaucho fans were treated to a glimpse of the past and visions of the future.
Freshman guard Alex Harris tied for a team-high 16 points to help halt Santa Barbara’s 11-game road losing skid. After the game, the talk seemed to be focused on Harris’ promising future and how his play was reminiscent of a young Brian Shaw – former Lakers guard and UCSB’s most prestigious basketball alumni.
“[Shaw] really helped with my decision to come to UCSB,” Harris said. “He gave me a lot of advice on how to handle the college experience and how to handle everything.”
Throughout the contest, Harris was fouled hard several times, but continually responded by remorsefully attacking the porous Mustang defense.
“[Harris] was great,” UCSB Head Coach Bob Williams said. “He’s getting better every game; he still makes young mistakes, but he’s been playing pretty dang smart basketball.”
While the Gaucho front line was thinned out with junior forward Cameron Goettsche sidelined for injury reasons, senior guard Chrismen Oliver and junior guard Joe See helped pick up Goettsche’s offensive void with 16 points apiece.
“I really liked how we played inspired ball with the crowd and all,” Williams said.
Santa Barbara managed to out-rebound Cal Poly 35-27, a statistic that had plagued UCSB all season. Contributing to this advantage was some blue-collar play by freshmen forwards Derek Rasp and Chris Moore. With eight minutes left in the second half, Rasp came up with a steal but in turn got the ensuing layup blocked from behind. Moore followed the entire play and managed to tip in the deflection to push the Gaucho lead from eight to 10.
“That was the play of the second half,” Williams said.
The win put UCSB into sole possession of sixth place in the Big West.