UCSB men’s basketball made it two in a row and five of its last six Thursday night, earning its first overtime win of the year over host UC Davis 76-69.
Freshman Ajay Mitchell was once again the answer, breaking the program’s freshman scoring record with 31 points and topping his career-high for the for the third time this month.
Mitchell’s record-breaking night came on 10-of-125 shooting with 9-of-12 free-throws made and a handful of big time plays. He played 40+ minutes and added four rebounds, three assists, and a block. The previous record of 29 points was held by Michael Bryson who did so in the Big West Tournament. This is just the third time in school history that the Gauchos have had two 30-point games by different players thanks to the 31-point by game by Miles Norris earlier this year. The other two came in 2010 with Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally and in 1987 with Scott Fisher and Conner Henry. (Courtesy of trusted source Bill Mahoney)
Senior forward Amadou Sow notched his fourth double-double of the season scoring 17 points and hauling in 11 rebounds. Seven of those 11 boards came on the offensive end.
Junior guard Josh Pierre-Louis continued to heat up as the regular season reaches the final stretch carding 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
UCSB won the rebound battle 46-32 and outscored UC Davis 51-38 after the first half.
Neither team led by more than eight in a game that saw 16 lead changes and five ties.
UCSB struggled offensively in the first half but scored 20 of its 25 points to keep within striking distance.
Sow took a bulk of the shots for the Gauchos dropping in 10 points and collecting seven rebounds.
The Aggies hit four of their 10 triple attempts to go into the half up six points at 31-25.
The second half saw the Gauchos begin to play with purpose led by Mitchell who scored 18 of UCSB’s 34 points on 7-of-10 shooting to bring his team back in it.
UCSB outshot UC Davis 52.2% to 44.0% in the half and after a number of lead changes managed to take control of the contest for most of the period.
The Gauchos had a shot to end it in regulation but the Aggies answered time and time again with tough buckets and second-chance points that saw them take a one-point lead at 57-56 with under a minute to go.
Who else but Mitchell came down and hit a step-back three with 28 second to go to put his team up two. Unfortunately UC Davis would earn a bucket with less than 10 seconds left to force OT.
UCSB went a perfect 4-for-4 and 8-for-10 from the charity stripe in the over time period outscoring UC Davis 17-10 while the Aggies shot 4-for-10.
Second-chance opportunities hurt the Gauchos again giving the Aggies a one-point lead with two and half minutes to go at 64-63, but Mitchell wasn’t done yet stroking a corner three that regained the lead for UCSB.
Mitchell had nine in the five-minute period making both of his field goals and all four free-throws to give his team the win.
The Gauchos now make the long trip from Davis to Riverside to take on the Highlanders of UCR today. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. at SRC Arena
Daniel Moebus-Bowles writes about sports for UCSB.