SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- The CSUB Roadrunners struggled to put away UC Santa Barbara on the road despite a 17-point second half lead Tuesday night ultimately falling to the host Gauchos 62-60 in overtime.
“We played great defense, as good as we’ve played in the last two weeks but all of the sudden there late in the second half we didn’t execute the way we wanted to offensively,” said head coach Rod Barnes. “We had some bad breaks but we just have to play better for 40 minutes.”
It was the second-straight road loss for CSUB who falls to 1-5 this season in true road games and 1-6 in all contests away from Bakersfield. The ‘Runners were outscored 41-28 in the second half by the Gauchos who managed 6-11 from three-point range in the half and connected on 13-16 from the free-throw line and 4-8 from the charity stripe in overtime.
CSUB was strong defensively in the first half holding UC Santa Barbara to just 15 points and 4-26 from the field and led 28-15 at the break. The ‘Runners also held a 25-14 rebounding advantage in the first half but were outrebounded 30-19 in the second half creating additional opportunities for the Gauchos and long scoring droughts for the Roadrunners.
CSUB led by 17 with 14:08 left in the game before the Gauchos would go on a 10-2 run over the next four minutes to pull within single digits. They would end up outscoring CSUB 30-19 over the finals 14 minutes of the game. UC Santa Barbara, paced by 21 points from Max Heidegger did most of their damage from three-point range and the free-throw line where Heidegger was 16-18. He gave the Gauchos a three-point lead with under 10 seconds to play before Damiyne Durham connected on a three-pointer with seven seconds remaining to force overtime.
Both CSUB and UC Santa Barbara were just 1-6 in overtime but fouls by the Roadrunners put the Gauchos at the free-throw line where the game was won as they connected on 22-32 free throws in the win.
“So proud of the kids for coming out and setting the tone in the first half but the second half was a different half, it was more their half, more their pace,” Barnes said. “They got to the free throw line a lot on us, you just can’t give that up on the road.”
CSUB was led by Matt Smith who scored a career-high 17 points on 6-9 from the field before fouling out. Durham had 12 points on 5-17 from the field and 2-9 from three-point range. The ‘Runners never got their three-point shooting going against the Gaucho’s zone and were just 4-17 in the game.
The Roadrunners return to action in their final non-conference game of the season on Tuesday, Jan. 3 as they play at Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H. That game will tip off at 7 P.M. (ET) and will be available on 1230 AM/98.1 FM ESPN.