The UCSB men’s basketball team (22-7, 13-5 Big West) were traveling for the last series of road games before The Big West Championships as the Gauchos made their first stop with the Tritons of UC San Diego. With the help of the entire starting five and other key players, the Gauchos brought another win back to Santa Barbara as they took down the Tritons 87-71.
“I am really proud of how our guys did as we wrapped up our fifth game in this 11-day stretch,” said UCSB Coach Joe Pasternack. “We have been battling adversity and injury over the last few games, and I feel like our team responded well to the challenge while having a great attitude.”
From the very first basket, the Gauchos had control of the game. They took the early lead over the Tritons with Miles Norris leading the way. The senior playing in his hometown of San Diego could not be stopped as he went seven-for-seven from the field, putting up 18 points in the first 20 minutes of play. This helped the Gauchos maintain a four-point lead heading into the locker room at halftime with a score of 40-36.
Both teams returned to the court with the same intensity for the second half. The Tritons worked to make a comeback in this game, keeping the Gauchos within arms-length for a period of time. But with just six minutes left on the clock, the Gauchos grabbed their first double-digit lead of the game as UC San Diego went one-for-10 from the field. UC Santa Barbara took advantage of this opening, growing their lead even more over the home team. The Gauchos closed this road game out with their second-highest score of the season as they defeated UC San Diego 87-71.
LOOKING AT THE NUMBERS
– Norris was the star of tonight’s game as he had a night in Lion Tree Arena. He put up a new season-high in points with 25, which is also one of the Top Five best performances of his career. Along with that, he went nine-for-11 from the field while going 100 percent from beyond the arc and the charity stripe.
– Andre Kelly adds on his seventh double-double of the season. He grabbed 11 boards while also recording 11 points.
– Calvin Wishart had another great night for the Blue and Gold. He finished his evening in San Diego with 15 points while leading the team in assists with eight. To top it all off, he also added on six rebounds, the second-most on the team behind Kelly.
– Along with those three, Ajay Mitchell and Josh Pierre-Louis added to the team’s phenomenal performance. Pierre-Louis was third on the team in points with 14 while tallying three assists. Mitchell, on the other hand, had 10 points while leading the team in steals with two while also contributing six assists.
The Gauchos will play their final road game of the season on Thursday, March 2, as UCSB makes the trip to Davis, California to face the UC Davis Aggies. Tipoff will be at 6 p.m. with a live stream through ESPN+ and live stats through the UC Davis Athletics’ website.
Kristen Keller is the associate athletic director for communications and digital strategy at UCSB.