Men’s basketball beats UCSB Gauchos, falls to Portland State Vikings

Photo by Vincent Ta
Photo by Vincent Ta

Feb. 20, 2013
Highlanders 54 – Gauchos 45

The UCR men’s basketball team, hot with a fiery defense, defeated the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos 54-45 Feb. 20. Highlanders Chris Harriel and Taylor Johns both provided an offensive punch for UCR, scoring a combined 25 points.

Johns scored his points coming off the bench in just 24 minutes. Chris Patton scored 10 points on only six shots, going 4-6 from the free throw line. Gaucho Alan Williams scored 15 points for UCSB, and teammate Taran Brown added 12. Gauchos Brown and Williams shot a combined 8-30 from the field.

Josh Fox set the tone defensively when he blocked Williams’ shot in the first few seconds of the first half. The two teams started off slow and were tied at 6-6 with 14 minutes left in the half. The Gauchos struggled to make shots off multiple attempts and UCR turnovers.

Johns amped his defensive pressure and recorded three big blocks in the first half. However, the Gauchos and the Highlanders traded baskets and turned the ball over. The half was deprived of good offense as UCSB and UCR headed into halftime tied at 20-20.

The Gauchos started off the second half by shutting down UCR. UCSB took a 24-21 lead in the first three minutes of the half. However, Highlander Harriel tied the game at 24 apiece on a 3-point shot with 17 minutes left in the game. The Highlanders would later go on a 9-0 run to take back the lead at 38-32.

The Gauchos would go on to struggle offensively, turning the ball over and missing shots. Highlander guard Robert Smith scored the last four points of the game on free throws to seal the victory for UCR.

The Highlanders shot 42 percent from the field while the Gauchos shot 26 percent. The Highlanders had 12 assists on the night, while the Gauchos had just eight.

Feb. 23, 2013
Vikings 66 – Highlanders 58

UC Riverside’s offense took a tumble with 11 minutes left to go at Portland State, losing the game 66-58. After taking an 8-point lead, Riverside’s offense failed to score for seven minutes and then only scored 6-points total for the rest of the game.

Chris Patton led the Highlanders with 22 points on 9-17 shooting, while Josh Fox chipped in 10 points on 5-8 shooting. Michael Harthun led the Portland State Vikings with 15 points. Portland also featured three scorers in double figures. The Highlanders’ frustration continued as they dropped to 6-21 on the season.

UCR struggled offensively in the first half, as the Vikings opened the game with a 14-8 run that was stopped by a Chris Harriel 3-pointer. Another 8-4 run continued to irritate the Highlanders defensively as the Vikings had their way with the UCR. A Josh Fox dunk in the waning moments cut the Vikings’ nine-point lead to seven going into halftime, 33-36.

The Highlanders started off the second half hot offensively, as UCR big man Chris Patton scored 6 of his 22 points in a 7-0 run to take the lead. The Highlanders and Vikings would battle with buckets through the next few minutes until the Highlanders took an 8-point lead with a little over 11 minutes left to go. Harthun and Michael Harvey would dominate the rest of the game for the Vikings, as Riverside struggled, losing the game 66-58.

With only two games left in the season, the Highlanders, hope to finish the season strong when they take on UC Davis on Thursday Feb. 28 and Pacific on Saturday March 2.

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