The eighth time was the charm for the UCSB men’s basketball team. The Gauchos finally recorded their first road victory of the season with a 64-50 win at UC Davis on Sunday.
“This group desperately needed a road win,” Head Coach Bob Williams said. “When you break through barriers it gives you a chance to learn a lot. I think getting through this barrier was very important.”
The Santa Barbara defense controlled the game, holding the Aggies to 38 percent shooting from the field and blocking five shots. After getting off to a slow start, the Gauchos (7-8 overall, 1-3 in the Big West) shot nearly 60 percent from the floor hitting 23 of their 39 attempts and went 5-11 from beyond the arc.
“I thought that we moved around better on the defensive end,” Williams said. “Teams that are really competitive and hustling defensively generally do well. Our defense saved us through an offensive dry spell in the first half.”
Setting the pace for UCSB was senior guard Joe See with 12 points. See has reached double-digits in three straight games and led the Gauchos from the charity stripe, hitting four of his six free throws.
“I was pretty pleased with our guard play in general today,” Williams said. “Our guards shot the ball well and played well defensively. We got good post play inside. We were more alive. We talked about affecting the game in the air and Glenn and Cam did that today.”
Along with See, sophomore forward Chris Devine and senior guard Cecil Brown notched double-figures, contributing 10 points apiece. Devine and junior forward Glenn Turner held down the glass for Santa Barbara snagging five boards each, while senior forward Cameron Goettsche swatted away three Davis shots.
A low scoring first half saw a bucket from Davis senior forward Phil Rasmussen tie the game at just 10 with 7:46 left. From there, UCSB held off the Aggies to take a 27-20 lead into halftime. The Gauchos continued their streak of ugly trips to the free throw line, making just four of 12 foul shots in the first half and shooting 54 percent from the line for the game.
Santa Barbara kicked off the second half with a 19-11 run to go up 46-31 with 11:50 remaining. Both Devine and Brown scored six of their 10 points in the second half while holding off a late 9-3 run by the Aggies to take the win.
“It’s a relief to get a win on the road,” Williams said. “I’m really pleased with the win. I thought for about 30-35 minutes we played better than we have all year on the road. We put together a very concerted effort on the defensive end.”
Rasmussen was the game’s leading scorer and rebounder with 18 points and eight boards. The Aggies (5-11 overall) had two players – freshman forward Jesse Lopez Low and senior guard Rommel Marentez – contribute eight points each.
Santa Barbara looks to continue its new-found road success this Saturday at Central Coast rival Cal Poly.