US Santa Barbara beats Cal St Fullerton 72-62, wins Big West
HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) Ajay Mitchell scored 12 of his team-high 20 points during a four-minute span to help UC Santa Barbara pull away from Cal State Fullerton and claim a 72-62 win in the Big West Conference championship game on Saturday night.
The Gauchos (27-7) claim the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years.
The Titans grabbed the lead on a layup by Vincent Lee with eight minutes to go and Mitchell, the Big West Player of the Year, snatched it back with a layup with 7:55 left. Latrell Wrightsell hit a jumper to put Fullerton back in front, but Mitchell snatched it back once more, this time for good, with a layup for a 51-50 lead. He added another layup, two free throws and a jumper and another layup to push the lead to 61-54 with just under four minutes left.
Mitchell hit 8 of 12 from the field and was 4 of 5 from the line while grabbing four rebounds and distributing four assists. Calvin Wishart finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals, Cole Anderson has 12 points, Miles Norris 10 and Andre Kelly grabbed 10 rebounds to go with his nine points.
Max Jones led the Titans (20-13) with 18 points and grabbed six boards. Wrightsell and Tory San Antonio each added 15 points and Jalen Harris chipped in 12. Fullerton did not get even a single point from its bench.
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Updated March 12, 2023