Gauchos cough up late lead, lose 73-72

SAN FRANCISCO — The University of San Francisco used a 15-0 run late in the game to overcome an 11-point UCSB lead, and then held-on for a 73-72 win in San Francisco on Monday night.

The Gauchos, who led most of the game, committed six of their 21 turnovers during the decisive rally that began with just over four minutes left and ended when Dior Lowhorn made a three-pointer from deep in the left corner. Lowhorn’s three gave the Dons a 69-65 lead with 1:04 left. He had eight of his 17 points during the late stretch. UCSB, on the other hand, did not even attempt a field goal over the same period.

The late USF rally spoiled what had been a very good performance by the Gauchos. Defensively, they had done a nice job on Lowhorn, who came into the game averaging 21 points. They also saw their two top scorers shake slumps.

Senior forward Chris Devine had a season-high 24 points and eight rebounds. He made 5-of-8 shots from the field and 14-of-16 free throws. Junior guard James Powell finished with 22 points, making 7-of-15 shots overall and 6-of-12 from three-point range. He was particularly hot in the first half when he made 5-of-6 from three-point territory and had 17 points.

As a team, Santa Barbara had its best rebounding game of the season, winning the battle of the boards, 33-23. Junior Jesse Byrd, returning to the school where he played his first two collegiate seasons, matched Devine with eight rebounds.

Although San Francisco shot 46.0% for the game, the Dons made 11-of-18 three-point attempts, 61.1%. UCSB hit 47.8% overall and 42.9% from outside the arc.

The defeat is the third in a row for the Gauchos, who are now 1-3. USF is now 4-1.

UCSB returns to action on Friday, Nov. 28 when it opens play in the World Vision Invitational in Normal, Ill. In the first game, the Gauchos will take-on Winston Salem State at 6:30 p.m. (PST). On Saturday, they will play Nicholls State, and on Sunday they take on the host, Illinois State.