James Powell‘s fifth 3-pointer of the second half creased the net with less than a second to play Tuesday night, as the UCSB basketball team defeated UNLV 63-60 before the most raucous Thunderdome crowd in years.

Powell, a sophomore guard, got the ball at the top of the key on a pass from Chris Devine after UCSB in-bounded the ball under the basket with four seconds on the game clock and the score tied, 60-60. Alex Harris had enabled the Gauchos to keep possession when he threw the ball off a UNLV player after his driving shot was blocked.

James Powell made five three-pointers in the Gauchos defeat of the UNLV Runnin' Rebels on Tuesday night.
Tony Mastres

The final buzzer sounded as a long heave from the backcourt by UNLV drifted off target, and hundreds of students swarmed onto the floor around the victorious Gauchos. With a 6-1 record, UCSB is off to its best start since 1992. The Runnin’ Rebels dropped to 4-2.

The visitors led most of the way. They were up 26-16 at halftime after a UCSB suffered a horrendous scoring drought. In the second half, the Gauchos sank 10 of 13 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc, but the Rebels held them at bay until the final two minutes.

Harris, a senior guard, led the Gauchos with 19 points. Powell scored 15, and Devine added 10.

UCSB coach Bob Williams praised the students for their enthusiasm. Wearing yellow T-shirts, they filled one side of the Thunderdome. The announced attendance was 3,438.

Another big turnout is expected at UCSB’s Harder Stadium tonight, November 28, when the Gaucho soccer team faces Washington in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Gauchos are defending national champions.

The men’s basketball team returns home next Wednesday, December 5, against Pepperdine. It plays at Loyola Marymount on Saturday night.

For John Zant’s complete rundown on the South Coast’s entire college basketball season, go here.


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