SANTA BARBARA, California — Mike Best scored 20 points and UC Irvine defeated UC Santa Barbara 61-52 on Saturday.
Best was 8 of 13 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds for the Anteaters (15-5, 4-0 Big West). Mamadou Ndiaye scored 11 points with 13 boards and Luke Nelson added 10, despite 4-of-16 shooting.
UC Santa Barbara (7-9, 1-2) was led by Gabe Vincent with 14 points, Michael Bryson with 13 and Eric Childress with 12.
UCSB led most of the game and was up eight, 52-44, with 10:50 to go — but the Gauchos didn't score again, missing their last 10 shots.
UC Irvine eventually took the lead with 3:51 to go on Nelson's 3-pointer. Best and Alex Young both made a pair of free throws in the last minute to seal it.
The Anteaters made 19 of 32 free throw attempts while UCSB hit just 1 of 5 from the line.