March 7, 2008
LOS ANGELES (AP) - UC Santa Barbara feels right at home when they play at Cal State Northridge.
For the third straight season, the Gauchos came into The Matadome and beat the Matadors, this time a 77-66 decision on Thursday night in a Big West showdown.Alex Harris scored 25 points, and Ivan Elliott added 16 to help the Gauchos clinch a share of the Big West Conference regular-season title with one game to play.
Harris and Elliott combined for 11 field goals in 22 attempts, and Harris made 12 of 16 free throws for the Gauchos (22-7, 11-4). They need only win at eighth-place Long Beach State on Saturday to earn the top seed in the conference tournament.
UCSB was the preseason favorite.
The Matadors can wrap up a share of their first regular-season title, the No. 2 seed in the tournament and only their sixth 20-win season in 50 years with a victory Saturday against sixth-place Cal Poly.
The top two seeds earn byes into the tournament semifinals.
James Powell scored 12 points, including a turnaround from the top of the key that put the Gauchos back up by double digits after Tresvant's six in a row cut the lead to eight.
UCSB shot 47 percent from the field and held the Matadors to 40 percent.
"Obviously we're very disappointed," said Matador head coach Bobby Braswell. "We held the Gauchos to 31 percent shooting in the second half, but we're fouling too much. They had 30 free throws in the second half and that was critical. But give UCSB credit. They played tougher than we did."
"The good thing is that we still have a chance to share the conference title," said Braswell. "Obviously we have to win the game on Saturday. Our team has worked hard to get to this point. We need to come back for our seniors on Saturday and have a good effort for them."
Matador Minute ...
Tremaine Townsend set a school record with two blocks to give him 34 for the season, breaking the old mark of 32 set by Thomas Shewmake (2005-06) ... Senior all-conference candidate Jonathan Heard had four free throw attempts to give him 488 for his career and move past Andre Chevalier (1990-94, 486) into second place all-time at Cal State Northridge ... Senior all-conference candidate Calvin Chitwood played 30 minutes to give him 2,636 minutes for his career which moved him past Shewmake (2003-07, 2,625) into eighth place all-time at Cal State Northridge.