SANTA BARBARA -- James Powell scored 19 points and made a 3-pointer with 1:54 left to give UC Santa Barbara breathing room in its 68-61 basketball victory over UC Irvine on Thursday night.
The Gauchos (7-8, 1-2 Big West Conference) led 33-21 at halftime after freshman Will Brew made all five of his 3-point attempts. He finished with a career-high 18 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the 3-point line and topped all UCSB rebounders with five.
But Michael Hunter rallied the Anteaters (3-11, 1-1) by scoring 10 of his team-high 17 points in the first six minutes of the second half. Irvine took the lead 52-51 on a layup by Adam Folker with 7:30 to go.
The Anteaters, who had made 12-of-17 shots to that point of the second half, cooled off afterward to make just 3-of-11 and end up at 43.6 percent for the game.
The Gauchos made 12-of-14 free throws plus two baskets by Powell during the final 7:30 to go back ahead for good.
Chris Devine added 11 points for UCSB, which shot 55.3 percent for the game.