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UCSB tops UCI for Big West title, NCAA Tournament berth

(AP Photo/Ronda Churchill)

LAS VEGAS (AP) JaQuori McLaughlin scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half to help UC Santa Barbara beat UC Irvine 79-63 on Saturday night and win the Big West Conference Tournament.

The Gauchos have won 18 of their last 19 since losing back-to-back games against UCI on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28 to open conference play and earned their first berth into the NCAA Tournament since 2011.

McLaughlin hit two 3s and Robinson Idehen scored four points in a 10-0 run that gave the Gauchos their biggest lead at 59-44 with 8:22 to play. The Anteaters, who had their six-game win streak snapped, trailed by double figures the rest of the way.

Miles Norris added 19 points and Amadou Sow had 13 points and 11 rebounds for UCSB.

Collin Welp lead UCI (18-9) with 22 points and DJ Davis added 11.

UCSB, which led for 37 minutes, 31 seconds, committed a season-low tying seven turnovers and scored 18 points off 10 Anteaters miscues.

The Gauchos shot 56.7% from the field in the second half and made 29 of 58 overall.

UC Irvine won the regular season and conference tournament crowns to earn a No. 13 seed in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. The Anteaters beat No. 4 seed Kansas State before losing to Oregon in the second round.


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Updated March 14, 2021

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