SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Oregon State made 8-of-10 three-point shots in the first half and UC Santa Barbara struggled with its shooting for the third straight game and the combination resulted in a 71-59 loss to the visiting Beavers on Saturday afternoon.
UCSB (1-2) made 40.0% of its shots in the first half but struggled mightily in the second half, making just 8-of-30 (26.7%) to finish at 33.8% for the game. On the flip side, Oregon State (4-0) hit 80.0% of its threes in the first half and finished 10-of-18, 55.6%.
"We've got good shooters so I believe this is only a temporary stage," said head coach Bob Williams. "We have guys who have proven that they can shoot the ball, but right now nothing is falling. Still, I know the lid will come off the basket at some point."
The Gauchos led just once in the game, 9-8 on a pair of Michael Bryson free throws with 14:57 left in the first half. They fell behind by as many as 10 in the first half but cut the advantage to 36-35 on a lay-up by Sam Beeler with 2:36 remaining. However a three-pointer by Stephen Thompson, Jr., with 35 second left completed a 7-0 run and gave the Beavers a 43-35 lead at the break.
"The end of the first half kind of set the tone for the rest of the game," Williams said. "We didn't end well and I thought there was some carry-over."
Beeler made another lay-up to open the second half, narrowing the deficit to 43-37, but then UCSB went ice cold, missing its next six shots, fueling an 8-0 Oregon State run that pushed the lead to 51-37 with just over 14 minutes left on the clock. The closest the Gauchos got the rest of the way was nine points.
John Green had a team-high 16 points for Santa Barbara, while Bryson added 14 to go along with seven rebounds. Beeler had one of the best games of his career and as a result was his first double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. He and Mitch Brewe, who played the team's 40 minutes at the five spot, combined for 19 points and 14 rebounds. Together they made 8-of-11 field goal attempts.
"If we can get that type of production out of our five spot then I like our chances when our outside shots start falling," Williams said. "I was especially happy that Sam stayed out of foul trouble and had the type of game we know he is capable of."
Beeler committed just one foul on the afternoon. In the team's first two games – at Omaha and Cal – he recorded three in each first half.
Oregon State was led by Gary Payton, Jr., who finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists. He made 3-of-4 shots from beyond the three-point arc. Thompson added 13 and Malcolm Duvivier had 12 points and, like Payton, made 3-of-4 three-point attempts.
The Gauchos committed just nine turnovers outrebounded the Beavers 39-37, but it wasn't enough to overcome the shooting struggles.
UCSB will travel to the University of San Francisco for 7:00 p.m. game against the Dons on Wednesday, November 25. The Gauchos will remain on the road and play at Arizona State on Sunday, November 19 at 2:00 p.m.