March Madness: UC Santa Barbara falls to Baylor in first spherical

Shortly after the ultimate buzzer blared in Ball Arena on Friday, UC Santa Barbara’s gamers and coaches made their means throughout the courtroom to a bit of supporters who made the journey to Colorado. They waved, raised their thumbs up and mouthed “thank you” in appreciation as they had been met with cheers.

The Gauchos savored the journey that carried them to the highest-profile stage of their sport, however after 4 months and 27 wins, their historic season was over.

Miles Norris scored 15 factors on six-of-eight capturing, however Santa Barbara was unable to maintain tempo with No. 3 seed Baylor within the second half, getting outscored by 19 factors within the last 20 minutes throughout a 74-56 loss within the first spherical of the NCAA event.

Big West Conference participant of the 12 months Ajay Mitchell added 13 factors and a team-high 4 assists for the No. 14 seed Gauchos, who had been making their second NCAA event look within the final three years.

With the South Region loss, UCSB finishes with a 27-8 file, essentially the most wins in a single season in program historical past. The defeat stopped a seven-game win streak that was the ninth longest within the sport getting into the day.

Under coach Joe Pasternack, the Gauchos have gained greater than 20 video games 5 occasions within the final six seasons. Their win proportion over that point is the third greatest amongst California Division I males’s basketball packages, behind solely San Diego State and Saint Mary’s.

“What I told the guys after the game is there’s nothing to hang your heads on,” Pasternack mentioned. “We had a great first half. We ran out of steam in the second half. But they’re going to be connected — we’re all going to be connected — for life because they hung two championship banners, a regular season and a conference tournament championship and broke the all-time wins record by four games. That’s really hard to do in college basketball. We’ll all be connected forever with that record.”

UC Santa Barbara ahead Andre Kelly goes up for a basket as Baylor ahead Flo Thamba defends.

(John Leyba / Associated Press)

Led by a balanced scoring effort, with seven gamers scoring at the least 4 factors, Santa Barbara carried a 36-35 lead into halftime.

Read also  Duke's Kara Lawson says males's ball utilized in 1st half vs. FSU

Baylor responded, nevertheless, by scoring 9 unanswered factors over a stretch of two:26 within the second half to construct a seven-point lead. The Gauchos wouldn’t get nearer than seven within the last 9 minutes, with the Bears’ lead finally swelling to double digits.

Baylor guard Adam Flagler mentioned coach Scott Drew informed the crew at halftime to concentrate on three keys — protection, rebounding and turnovers. The Bears had been in a position to do exactly that.

After capturing 61.5% within the first half, together with 70% contained in the three-point arc, UCSB made simply 30.4% of its makes an attempt within the second half. The Gauchos got here into the matchup seventh amongst Division I groups in field-goal proportion, at 49.3% for the season. They had been compelled into eight turnovers within the second half, permitting Baylor to get out in transition, get high-percentage appears to be like and switch the tide of the sport.

“I felt like we were together and connected and flying around for one another,” mentioned Flagler, who had a team-high 18 factors and 5 assists. “We know in this tournament, especially in order to win just one game, defense wins games.”

“I think they picked up their pressure and it really bothered us,” Pasternack mentioned.

Against a smaller opponent, Baylor used its depth to put on down Santa Barbara over the course of the sport. The Bears obtained 23 bench factors, in comparison with 14 for the Gauchos.

Given what Santa Barbara has completed in latest seasons, gamers left the event with a perception that this season was a subsequent step, not a last one, for this system.

Read also  LAFC beats Alajuelense in CONCACAF Champions League recreation

“For the guys coming back, do it again,” mentioned Norris, a senior. “They know what it’s like to be here. They’ve got the experience. I believe in all the young guys.”