The UCSB men’s basketball team saw Murphy’s Law in action last night at the Spanos Center in Stockton. For Santa Barbara, whatever could go wrong did go wrong in a 28-point loss to Pacific.
After a first half where they scored just 12 points, the Gauchos (13-13 overall, 5-8 in the Big West) were handed not only a 64-36 loss but also what appears to be a serious injury to junior forward Glenn Turner.
The loss – just its second in eight games – saw Santa Barbara record its fourth-lowest point total in school history.
“We can’t let a performance in a game like this one take away from what we did in the last seven,” UCSB Assistant Coach Mark Amaral said. “Especially going into the last conference game. I think we’re going to learn a lot about the team here in the next week or so.”
The Tigers (21-7 overall, 11-2 Big West) opened the first half with a 22-0 run that spanned 9:46. UCSB missed its first 15 field goal attempts before finally getting a bucket from senior guard Cecil Brown with 10:07 remaining in the half.
Although the drought ended, the situation remained dire for the Gauchos, who went 4-31 from the field in the first half and allowed Pacific 16 points in the paint. Santa Barbara headed to the locker room down 35-12, having scored the second-fewest points in a half in school history.
“I wouldn’t say it was bad shots,” Amaral said. “I thought we got good shots, especially at the rim. We got some good interior shots and attacks that just didn’t fall. What compounded it was that after we missed we gave up easy baskets. That’s what complicated the score early on, the fact that we didn’t score combined with their easy buckets.”
Though the Gauchos posted 24 points in the second half, it was nowhere near enough to overcome the 23-point deficit, especially with Pacific adding 29 points of its own in the final 20 minutes. Both teams committed nine turnovers in the second half, a statistic that hurt Santa Barbara, especially considering its totals of just three assists and 13 field goals in the game.
To add injury to insult was the removal of Turner, who became a cause for concern for the Gauchos when he still required medical attention midway through the second half after coming out of the game early on in the half. With approximately three minutes remaining in the match, Turner was removed from courtside on a stretcher to be examined at a local hospital. Due to privacy standards, UCSB coaches were unable to confirm the nature of Turner’s injuries. Turner is Santa Barbara’s leading rebounder and a staple in recent starting lineups.
Senior forward Christian Maraker once again proved his dominance in the post, recording his 14th double-double of the season with 22 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Tigers. Maraker accounted for 14 of Pacific’s 24 points in the paint.
“Right now there doesn’t seem to be anybody that can stop Maraker,” Amaral said. “He’s a good player and he is looking like he’ll be the Player of the Year in this league.”
Coming off of its worst loss since a 30-point drubbing by Utah State last year, the Gauchos finish out the regular season Saturday at Cal State Northridge. The Matadors (11-15overall, 4-9 Big West) downed UCSB 59-46 Jan. 26 at the Thunderdome. A win at Northridge would guarantee the Gauchos at least a fifth-place finish in the Big West.
“I think you have to remember, although it’s late in the year, one loss doesn’t make a season and nor does one win,” Amaral said.
Tip-off Saturday is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Matadome.