Gauchos Hang on to Beat Titans, 83-80

Feb. 7, 2008

Box Score

Goleta, Calif. - Alex Harris scored 24 points and Ivan Elliott added a career-high 22 Thursday night as UC Santa Barbara held off Cal State Fullerton for an 83-80 Big West Conference victory.

Marcus Crenshaw equalled his career high with 23 points and Scott Cutley had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Titans, who fell to 14-7 and 7-3 and saw their 4-game win streak end. Crenshaw got 21 in the second half but missed a potential game-tying trey in the final seconds.

UCSB improved to 17-5 and 6-3.

The Gauchos never trailed in the game, jumping out to a 6-0 advantage and leading by as many as 13 points on several occasions in the first half. But the Titans got within 7 points at the half and kept the margin in single digits until catching up once, at 69-69 with 4:10 to play on a Cutley layup.

Elliott then hit a 3-pointer on an out of bounds play and Harris added two free throws and the Titans were playing catch up until the very end. Ray Reed's steal and layup got Fullerton within 3 points and Crenshaw hit a trey to make it 81-80 with 24 seconds left. James Powell made two free throws and Crenshaw's final shot bounced off the rim and UCSB rebounded.

"We were where we wanted to be on the road with the score tied and 4 minutes left," said Head Coach Bob Burton. "But then we got back in a hole. I'm really proud of our guys ... in the second half they came out and competed. UCSB shot 60 percent in the first half and 40 percent in the second half. Our guys really wanted to play.

"But we got hurt by the foul outs (Marcus Morgan with 4:29 to play and Frank Robinson with 3:15 to play). And Josh (Akognon) had the worst game I've seen him have. He just couldn't get it going. He had some great looks."

The Titans played without point guard Junior Russell, who has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

"Marcus did a great job offensively," said Burton.

"I was concerned the game was going to get away from us in the first half. But the players took ownership and I let them coach themselves."

Crenshaw hit 5 of 10 3-pointers and 9 of 17 overall. His previous 23-point game also came against UCSB last season.

But Akognon made only 2 of 9 shots and was zero for 5 from the 3-point line and his 8 points were his second lowest total of the year. He came into the game averaging 20.8 points, one-tenth less than Harris. UCSB hit 8 of 14 3-pointers including 5 of 7 in the first half. Fullerton finished 10 of 23.

The Titans play Saturday at Cal Poly, which beat UC Irvine by one point Thursday night.