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UC Santa Barbara beats UC Irvine for Big West title, NCAA tournament berth

UC Santa Barbara's Miles Norris goes up for a shot as UC Irvine's Austin Johnson defends March 13, 2021, in Las Vegas.
UC Santa Barbara’s Miles Norris, who had 19 points, goes up for a shot as UC Irvine’s Austin Johnson defends Saturday night. Santa Barbara won 79-63 for the Big West tournament title.
(Ronda Churchill / Associated Press)

JaQuori McLaughlin scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half to help UC Santa Barbara beat UC Irvine 79-63 on Saturday night and win the Big West Conference tournament.

The Gauchos have won 18 of their last 19 since losing back-to-back games against UCI on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28 to open conference play and earned their first berth in the NCAA tournament since 2011.

McLaughlin hit two three-pointers and Robinson Idehen scored four points in a 10-0 run that gave the Gauchos their biggest lead at 59-44 with 8:22 to play. The Anteaters, whose six-game winning streak ended, trailed by double figures the rest of the way.

Maurice Calloo scored an unexpected 15 points as Oregon State defeated No. 23 Colorado 70-68 on Saturday night for its first Pac-12 tournament title.

Miles Norris added 19 points and Amadou Sow had 13 points and 11 rebounds for UCSB.

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Collin Welp lead UCI (18-9) with 22 points, and DJ Davis added 11.

UCSB, which led for 37 minutes 31 seconds, committed a season-low-tying seven turnovers and scored 18 points off 10 Anteaters miscues.

The Gauchos shot 56.7% from the field in the second half and made 29 of 58 attempts overall.

UC Irvine won the regular-season and conference tournament crowns to earn a No. 13 seed in the 2019 NCAA tournament. The Anteaters beat No. 4 seed Kansas State before losing to Oregon in the second round.

Kofi Cockburn had 26 points Saturday, and No. 3 Illinois defeated No. 5 Iowa 82-71 to advance to the Big Ten tournament title game against Ohio State.

Women

UC Davis 61, UC Irvine 42: Former Fairmont Prep star Cierra Hall scored 23 points and Evanne Turner (Fontana) had 22 as the top-seeded Aggies pulled away late in the third quarter to win their second consecutive Big West women’s tournament championship.


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