In their seventh conference game of the season on Jan. 19, the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos did not disappoint with their 72-52 victory over Cal State Northridge.
The Gauchos got off to a hot start, attaining a 10-3 lead five minutes into the game. Senior forward Miles Norris contributed to the early scoring, providing back-to-back 3-pointers.
The Matadors responded with a run of their own, going on a 12-6 run. Sophomore guard Atin Wright was a key contributor during their run, hitting 2 free throws and a 3-pointer.
The first half featured many scoring runs as the Gauchos responded with 12 points of their own, raising the score to 28-19 with four minutes remaining in the first half.
Nearing the end of the half, the Matadors were able to tighten the gap. Sophomore guard Dionte Bostick secured an offensive rebound and a putback layup as the time expired into the half, giving the Gauchos a 34-29 lead into the break.
Wright and junior forward Dearon Tucker continued the scoring after the break, each adding a basket to reduce the Gauchos’ lead to 1 point at 34-33.
The first lead change in the game came at the 15-minute mark in the second half, as the Gauchos fell behind 36-38 after another 3-pointer by Wright.
Sophomore guard Cole Anderson lit fire from behind the arc, knocking down two straight 3-pointers at the 11:34 mark to put the Gauchos up 47-38.
Norris put it all together this game, shooting at a high percentage behind the arc at 60%, leading the Gauchos out of the Matadors’ reach. Following Norris’ hot run of scoring, the Gauchos pushed out to a 60-42 lead with 6:38 left on the clock.
The Gauchos ended the game by keeping the lead intact with a 72-52 victory, with a huge effort from the bench.
UCSB’s Coach Joe Pasternack stated after the game about the bench effort, “Yeah, yeah, I mean [senior guard] Calvin [Wishart] — 6 assists, 1 turnover — did a great job. I thought our whole team found Cole Anderson, and it’s like we got to find him in transition. Ajay found them in the second half. [Senior guard] Josh [Pierre-Louis] found them in the first half and did a great job of finding him. And in transition, 18 assists, man, that’s great.”
Sophomore guard Ajay Mitchell once again had a stellar stat line of 18 points and 6 assists. Coach Pasternack went on to say, “I told Ajay yesterday, I told him today and I’ll tell him every day. A point guard is judged by — does your team win, and what was your assist to turnover ratio? And I’d like to cut one of those turnovers out if I could, but I can’t do that. 12 turnovers are too many turnovers for our team, but 18 assists — when you see that, you know your team is sharing the basketball.”
The Gauchos showed a dominant display of basketball, moving up to the No. 2 ranked team in the Big West.