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College Basketball

UCSB’s Seven-Game Win Streak Snapped by USC

LOS ANGELES – USC used a barrage of three-point baskets and a 16-4 run to end the first half, en route to a 98-87 win over visiting UC Santa Barbara on Sunday evening, ending the Gauchos seven-game winning streak.

The Trojans (6-3) made 13-of-26 three-point attempts and their 16-4 surge in the closing minutes of the first half gave them a 52-33 halftime lead.

UCSB had a 54-46 scoring edge in the second half to narrow the final margin to 11.

“We look at games as 10 four-minute wars,” said Gaucho head coach Joe Pasternack. “Those last four minutes of the first half were the difference in the game. I thought we showed a lot of fight in the second half but they are a very, very talented team.”

Chimezie Metu led the assault for the Trojans with 31 points on 11-of-16 shooting overall. He also made 3-for-5 from outside the three-point arc.

“He (Metu) is so talented and can score in so many different ways,” Pasternack said. “Whenever they needed a basket he found a way to score.”

After making just 41.9% of their shots in the first half, the Gauchos got hot in the second half and made 19-of-34, 55.9%. They also hit 12 threes overall, six in each half.

“I think we’ve shown that, at times, we can score with anyone,” Pasternack said. “As a team we were very good offensively tonight, especially in the second half.”

Gabe Vincent and Max Heidegger each scored a team-high 17 points for UCSB. Vincent hit 7-of-12 field goals, including 3-of-8 from three-point range. He also added seven assists and no turnovers. Heidegger made a team-high four three-point baskets.

“I’m starting to feel more comfortable out there,” Vincent said. “I felt good the last game and that continued tonight. Every game, I take another step in the right direction and I hope that keeps happening.”

Leland King II added 15 points and seven rebounds, while Jalen Canty tallied 12 points to give the Gauchos four players in double-figures. Marcus Jackson added nine points, five assists, two steals and no turnovers. Ami Lakoju added four points, seven rebounds and a pair of blocked shots, while Christian Terrell scored a season-high six points and had three assists.

The Trojans had five players in double-figures. Joining Metu were Elijah Stewart (19), Jonah Mathews (16), Nick Rakocevic (12) and Jordan McLaughlin (10). McLaughlin also tied the Pac 12 record for assists in a game with 19.

“That’s an NBA point guard,” Pasternack said. “He created so many outstanding opportunities for them and the numbers show that.”

As a team, the Gauchos had just seven turnovers, but they were soundly outrebounded, 40-25, including 27-9 in the first half.

UCSB expects to return home on Tuesday, Dec. 19 when it is scheduled to host San Diego Christian College in a 7 p.m. game at the Thunderdome. The status of that game will be dependant on the air quality in the Santa Barbara area.

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