UC Santa Barbara overcame a sluggish start and the absence of its starting center to win the finale of its five-game tour of eastern Canada on Sunday afternoon, 87-69 over Concordia University of Montreal.
The Gauchos (4-1) trailed 7-2 less than three minutes into the game and didn't lead until freshman center Alan Williams hit a short jumper to give them a 13-11 edge with 2:50 left in the first quarter. Once in front, UCSB never looked back, leading the rest of the way.
After leading 22-15 at the end of the first quarter, the Gauchos poured it on in the second 10-minute period outscoring the Stingers 23-11 to take a 45-27 lead at the half.
Another basket by Williams gave UCSB its biggest lead of the game, 55-30, with 7:00 to play in the third quarter. Concordia battled back with an 18-6 run to creep within 61-48 with 1:11 left in the third. On the strength of a nice inside move by Greg Somogyi and four free throws from Troy Leaf, the Gauchos pushed the lead back to 17, 67-50, heading into the final quarter.
The lead never dropped below 14 again, ballooning to 24 on one more occasion.
Playing without Jaimé Serna who sat out the game with a strained calf, UCSB leaned on Somogyi and Williams and they responded. Somogyi, a senior, made several outstanding moves inside, including a Kareem-like skyhook, en route to 12 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots. Williams had 13 points, six rebounds and one block.
"Greg and Alan really picked-up the slack today," said head coach Bob Williams. "Both of them showed some good things offensively and they also played well on the defensive end. It was encouraging."
Somgyi and Williams were joined in double-figures by James Nunnally who had 14 points and seven rebounds, Orlando Johnson who tallied 13 and Troy Leaf, who had 11, to go along with a game-high four assists. Freshman guard T.J. Taylor also finished with nine points.
"We had good balance today," Williams said. "It was good to see some new guys step-up. It leaves us with a very good feeling at the end of the trip."
The Gauchos will return to Santa Barbara on Tuesday. They will be off until resuming regular practices on Oct. 15.
Season tickets to UCSB basketball games are now available. The home schedule includes rivalry match-ups with Long Beach State and Cal Poly, as well as huge non-conference games against UNLV, San Diego State, Santa Clara and Portland. A number of innovative mini-plans are also available. For information, call 805-893-UCSB, drop by the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus or click here.