The UCSB men’s basketball team (4-2) got back on track Friday night, defeating Pepperdine (2-8) 86-74 in front of a huge Gaucho crowd thanks to a second half surge.
After going into the half tied, the Gauchos outscored the Waves by 12 points in the second period to pick up their fourth win of the season.
During the home game, Calvin Wishart led all players with a career-high 23 points off the bench, all of which came in the first half, and added three assists, two rebounds, and two steals.
Five Gauchos landed in double figures including Miles Norris who nearly had a double-double with 13 points and nine boards, and Amadou Sow who narrowly missed it with 11 points and nine boards of his own.
UCSB outshot Pepperdine shooting 53.1% from the field while holding the visitor to 43.3%.
The Gauchos found 15 points on second chance opportunities and 19 on Wave turnovers.
Both teams struggled in the early going with the Gauchos committing seven turnovers in the first 10 minutes of play, but managed to find their footing shooting 57.9% from the field
Pepperdine’s offense found 15 field goals in the period but each time they scored, Wishart found a way to even it up, having career-night in the first half alone.
Wishart ended the half a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, 4-for-4 from deep, and 9-for-9 from the free throw line for 23 points to go along with an assist and two steals.
UCSB nearly took a lead into the half but Pepperdine found a late trio of triples to ice the game at 41 apiece by the end of the end of the half.
The Gauchos came out hot to start the second half on a 12-0 run and quickly expanded the lead to as much as 13 in the first seven minutes of play.
UCSB limited its turnovers, committing just four in the half, and got it done in the paint, outscoring the Waves 24-12 after losing that battle in the first half.
Pepperdine cut the lead down to seven with just over five minutes to go, but that’s as close as the visitor came to making a late comeback.
Norris saw 10 points and six boards, Sow had nine points and six boards, and Sanni notched a team-high 11 points in the second period.
“The team that is mentally tougher will always win in college basketball. The team that defends and rebounds will always win,” Head Coach Joe Pasternack said. “I thought our guys really grinded out every single possession and this was a really a growing-up stage for our team, and we are starting to understand what it takes to win.”
UCSB closes out its five-game homestand this afternoon when the Gauchos welcome Cal Lutheran to the Thunderdome.
Daniel Moebus-Bowles works in communications/media relations at UCSB.