Jan. 23, 2014
Gauchos 68 – Highlanders 65
The Highlanders (6-13, 1-4) were one free throw away from their second conference win of the season. With five seconds left in regulation, and tied at 60-60, Taylor Johns missed a potential game-winning free throw en route to a 68-65 overtime loss to the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (12-5, 3-1).
As the first half began, Riverside took control of the game early, jumping out to a 10-7 lead. But it wasn’t long until Santa Barbara caught up. With 10 minutes remaining, the Gauchos slowly took the lead. Riverside looked to cut the lead, but turnovers, a missed jumper, and fouls contributed to an 11-point deficit at the half, 33-22.
Three minutes into the second period, the Gauchos took the largest lead of the night, 39-22. Riverside was determined to change the game around as freshman Sam Finley sparked the team and crowd with a series of three-point plays. The Highlanders clawed their way to 50-50 behind both Finley and Taylor Johns, who also contributed by coming up with huge blocks time and time again. With five seconds remaining in the half, Johns had the opportunity to steal the win from the Gauchos as he shot his second free throw, but fell short as regulation came to an end, 60-60.
With another chance to win the game, overtime began in the Gauchos’ favor. Riverside would continue to struggle as they kept missing their shots and putting UC Santa Barbara on the foul line. Connecting on six of nine free throw attempts, the Gauchos would increase their lead to as many as five points, 67-62. With 12 seconds remaining and down by three, Finley attempted to score a three-pointer, but fell short as the game came to an end, 68-65.
The Highlanders shot 63 percent from the field in the second half, but only made three of 21 three-pointers on the night.
Patton led all scorers with 23 points, while Finley added 20 points. Alan Williams led the Gauchos with 21 points and seven rebounds.
Jan. 26, 2014
Highlanders 61 – Mustangs 58
The Riverside crowd of over 1,000 stood and cheered for the men’s basketball team on Saturday night as they faced Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Behind a double-double from Steven Jones and strong play from Sam Finley, Riverside (7-13, 2-4) would come out with the victory, 61-58, earning their second conference win of the season.
The Mustangs (8-11, 4-2) would slowly take the lead as the Highlanders struggled to hold on to the ball. Making three-pointers and connecting on their jumpers, the Mustangs led by as many as nine points as eight minutes remained. Both teams, however, struggled to connect, as shots were missed, blocked and balls stolen throughout the half. Riverside slowly began to recover as the lead was cut to six points, 26-20. For the period, the Mustangs shot an abysmal 34.6 percent from the field while the Highlanders proved no better, shooting 35.3 percent.
Trying to turn the game around, Riverside began to gain momentum as Steven Thornton and Chris Patton would lead the Highlanders to the first tie of the night, 31-31. Behind two scores from Ridge Shipley, Cal Poly gained a seven-point advantage, 50-43, but UCR continued to chip away. With one minute remaining and one point behind, the Highlanders took the lead as Taylor Johns came out with a block and secured the offensive possession for UC Riverside. With one second remaining, Sam Finley would cement the win by making both free throws, 61-58.
Steven Jones led the Highlanders, tallying 11 points and 10 rebounds. Jones also didn’t miss a shot on the night, making all five of his attempts. Patton added 17 points while freshman Finley added 10 points. David Nwaba led the Mustangs with 17 points.
The Highlanders now prepare to face Cal State Northridge on Jan. 30.