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College Basketball

UCSB Left Out in the Cold in Big West Opener,

UC Davis raced out to a 35-15 halftime lead and never looked back on Wednesday night in a 73-47 win over visiting UC Santa Barbara in the Big West Conference opener for both teams.

For the Gauchos (2-11, 0-1), the story was a familiar one as they once again had issues with their field goal shooting, hitting just 25.0% in the decisive first half and 31.0% overall. They were also a dismal 2-for-16 from three-point range, including 0-for-10 before Gabe Vincent broke the ice late in the second half.

The Aggies (9-7, 1-0) led the entire game in winning their third straight game.

"That is a very physical team, especially their backcourt, and we didn't respond," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "Early, they took us out of everything we wanted to do offensively and on the other end, it was too easy for them."

Trailing 6-4, the Gauchos were outscored by Davis 14-1 to fall behind 20-5 with 10:57 to play. The only interruption of the run came on a Vincent free throw with 13:09 on the clock. UCSB missed all seven of its shots during the stretch.

"If you are going to overcome that kind of run, missing that many shots, you have to do it by taking care of the ball, defending, rebounding and getting to the free throw line," Williams said. "As a team, we didn't do any of those things well tonight."

A pair of free throws by Maxwell Kupchak ended the 14-1 spell, but the Gauchos missed three more shots before Kupchak made a lay-up with 8:56 left to end the streak of missed shots at 10 in a row.

Jumpers by Alex Hart and Jarriesse Blackmon cut the lead to 28-15 at the 3:27 mark, but a three-pointer from the top of the key by Siler Schneider ignited a 7-0 Aggie rally to end the half and give them their decisive 35-15 lead at the break. Schneider made 4-for-6 shots from outside the arc and finished with a game-high 16 points.

Blackmon opened the second half scoring with a slam dunk but that did little to change the momentum and less than two minutes later, he would go down hard on his left arm after blocking an attempted breakaway lay-up by Darius Graham. Blackmon would not return to the game.

A lay-up by Chima Moneke, who finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, gave Davis a 39-19 lead with 17:00 left in the game and UCSB would not get inside a 20-point margin the rest of the way.

Vincent made a pair of late three-point baskets and finished with a team-high 12 points to go along with four of his team's eight assists. Kupchak tied his career-high with 10 points and set a new personal standard with nine rebounds. Hart gave the Gauchos three players in double-figures as he finished with 10 points.

Santa Barbara, which had 15 turnovers, was outrebounded 42-36. Davis finished the game 28-of-62 from the field overall, 45.2%, and 8-of-22 from three-point range, 36.4%. Both teams made 9-of-14 from the free throw line, 64.3%.

The Gauchos will have eight days off before they return to Big West play by hosting UC Irvine on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. in the Thunderdome.


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