Free Throws Help Gauchos Down Waves
The UC Santa Barbara basketball team was perfect at the foul line Thursday night, played tougher defense when it counted and came from behind to edge Pepperdine, 73-70, at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.
Although the first half was close, with 6 lead changes and 3 ties, Pepperdine was the better defensive team in that period.
The Waves harried Gaucho guards Carrick DeHart and Carlton Davenport, forcing them to take poor shots. Davenport was 0 for 6, and DeHart, who entered the game shooting 58.7% and averaging 22 points a game, was 3 for 10. As a team, UC Santa Barbara shot just 31% in the first half.
With 7:53 left before halftime and the Gauchos leading 23-22, Pepperdine went on a 10-2 run to take a 32-25 lead. Two free throws by sophomore center Gary Gray of Granada Hills cut the Wave lead to 32-30.
But Casey Crawford converted a Pepperdine miss into a basket, Tom Lewis drove for a layup and the Waves pulled out to a 40-32 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Pepperdine increased its advantage to 47-34 on a short bank shot by Lewis, who finished with a game-high 22 points, 16 in the first half. The Waves appeared to be in control.
Pepperdine was still managing to contain DeHart, who finished with 16 points, and Davenport, who scored 4, all on free throws.
But Santa Barbara started going more to its big men--Gray, Eric McArthur and Mike Doyle--and that trio would either hit a basket or draw a foul--or both.
The Gauchos were 18 for 18 from the foul line in the game, and they shot 63% in the second half. Doyle scored a team-high 20 points, and Gray and McArthur each scored 14.
Getting that kind of production from the front court, the Gauchos kept chipping away at the lead. With 3:53 remaining, DeHart hit a 3-point shot from the corner, and Santa Barbara took its first lead of the second half.
Pepperdine regained the lead, 68-67, on a Lewis basket in traffic. But McArthur hit both ends of a one-and-one, and the Gauchos took the lead for good, 69-68.
Freshman Paul Johnson stole the ball from Lewis, and McArthur threw in a 15-footer. A Marty Wilson layup cut the lead to 71-70, but he then fouled Johnson with 14 seconds left. Johnson converted both ends of a one-and-one for the game’s final score.