Stephan Hicks added 24 for the Matadors (10-10, 1-7 Big West), including eight straight points to cap a 13-0 second-half run that turned a 59-52 deficit into a 65-59 lead. That put Northridge ahead to stay.
Taran Brown had 18 points and Kyle Boswell 15 for the Gauchos (7-11, 3-4), who pulled within 69-67 on Michael Bryson's 3-pointer with 44 seconds left. But the Matadors made six free throws in the final 32 seconds to seal the victory.
Northridge outrebounded Santa Barbara 41-31 and won despite shooting 62 percent from the free-throw line.
UC Santa Barbara still leads the all-time series between the teams 31-16, but the loss snapped a three-game winning streak against CS Northridge.