Oregon St. used a balanced attack, and played their best game of the season so far, to pull away from UC-Santa Barbara for a 76-64 win Tuesday night that kept them unbeaten at Gill Coliseum this season. The Beavers had 6 players in double figures, which was everyone who scored, for the first time since November of 2012 against Niagara.
It didn't look like that would be the case early, as the Gauchos opened a 16 point first half lead. Oregon St. would rally, and take the lead back by halftime, and a 6-0 start to the second half put the Beavers in position to not trail the rest of the way.
Olaf Schaftenaar had Oregon St.'s first 5 points, but then UCSB responded with a 10-0 run, as the Beavers went scoreless for 4 minutes, until Langston Morris-Walker's 3 pointer. Undaunted, the Gauchos ran off 9 more points in a row as the Beavers suffered another scoring drought, this one over 6 minutes long, and the 19-3 run made it 23-8 UCSB, and made the small crowd of 4,800 on hand that only half-filled Gill Coliseum (scheduling a winter break game against a Pac-12 Bowl game was a dubious decision) pretty nervous.
But the Beaver bench came to the rescue, first with 5 points by Victor Robbins, then 6 straight points by Jarmal Reid, which sparked a 14-0 run that got Oregon St. back within 2 points, down only 26-24 after a pair of Morris-Walker free throws.
Michael Bryson's 3 pointer and a basket by MItch Brewe rebuilt the Gaucho's lead to 7 points, but Morris-Walker and Malcolm Duvivier wrapped 3 pointers around a pair of Gary Payton II free throws to put the Beavers ahead for the first time since it was 5-4.
Alan Williams's free throws put UCSB back ahead by one one last time, but Reid's free throws 6 seconds before halftime put Oregon St. up 37-36 at the break.
The Gauchos' offense had a good first half, with 14 field goals, the most allowed in any first half all season by the Beavers, as UCSB shot 61% before the break, including 56% on 3s.
Oregon St. survived with good long range shooting of their own. The Beavers shot 45% in the first half, not that bad considering that 14 of their shots were 3s, 6 of which went down.
Duvivier opened the second half with back to back baskets, as Williams, UCSB's large post player, and leading scorer and rebounder, picked up his 3rd foul 1 1/2 minutes after the break.
Oregon St. attacked Williams inside, but he still scored UCSB's next 3 baskets, and their first 3 of the second half, to hang in.
The Gauchos made another 7-0 run to tie the game at 47 apiece on a pair of Eric Childress free throws at the 12:44 mark, after Daniel Gomis fouled out on a flagrant 1 with 12 3/4 minutes still to go. This just 12 seconds after he had picked up his 4th personal foul.
The Beavers answered with a 7-0 run of their own though, holding UCSB scoreless for 5 minutes, as Reid again contributed strong minutes off the bench, picking up Williams' 4th foul with over 8 minutes left, and Payton, above (USA Today photo), who spent most of the first half trying to find his niche after a scoreless game in Oregon St.'s last game, a 60-52 loss at Quinnipiac a week ago last Sunday, began to find all the chinks in the Gauchos, and began to put together a solid, all around game.
3 pointers by Payton and Duvivier opened Oregon St.'s largest leads to that point, 10 and 11 points as time began to run out on UCSB, with the Beavers up 65-54 with a little over 3 minutes left.
Bryson wrapped 5 free throws around 1 by Payton, including 3 for being fouled while shooting a top of the key 3 pointer (a problem that re-arose from earlier in the season for Oregon St.), to cut the margin down to 7 again, but Oregon St. then stretched out their lead, hitting 8 straight free throws, before a Payton layin produced a 14 point, 76-62 lead, ultimately the Beavers' largest of the game, before a final UCSB basket amidst some clock killing by the Beavers.
Oregon St. outscored UCSB by 28 after having fallen behind by 16 in the first half.
"It was a great experience for our guys," Oregon St. coach Wayne Tinkle said. "I couldn't be more proud for the way they dug deep to find a way to win. It wasn't like a bunch of fluke things happened to facilitate the comeback; we just dug in and played like we know we are capable of."
It was Oregon St.'s largest come-back win in over 9 years, since the Beavers overcame a 22 point deficit to UNLV in 2005.
Reid led Oregon St., with 16 points, and Payton, with GP Sr. watching in approval, was right behind, with 14 points to go along with a team high 9 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 assists, and a blocked shot.
Schaftenaar added 14, while both Morris-Walker and Robbins had 11 point nights, and Duvivier added 10.
Williams had a co-game high 16 points, and a game high 12 rebounds, for a double double, but Bryson was the only other Gaucho in double digits, also with 16 points. Oregon St.'s switch to a 1-3-1 zone for much of the second half proved more disruptive to the UCSB passing than had been the case in the first half.
The Beavers shot 48% for the night, compared to 50% by the Gauchos, but the key stats of the game was Oregon St.'s 22 of 27 night at the free throw line, 81 1/2%, which UCSB was 11 of 19 from the stripe.
Oregon St. improved to 9-3 as they concluded their non-conference schedule, and head into Eugene Saturday evening at 5 PM for the first basketball battle of the Civil War this season, against Oregon, who concluded their non-conference schedule with a 10-3 record, including 9-1 at Matt Court, after their 69-67 win over UC-Irvine in overtime last night.
UCSB dropped to 5-7 for the season, including 3 losses to northwest Pac-12 teams, and 3 losses in overtime.