DAVIS Calif. – Kyle Boswell had a four-point play, Nate Garth drilled a clutch three-pointer and visiting UC Santa Barbara made four late free throws as the Gauchos held-off UC Davis for a 66-59 Big West win on Saturday night.
Oh, UCSB sophomore Alan Williams had 28 points, 11 rebounds, four blocked shots and a pair of steals to do his part as his team won its first road game since Dec. 1.
The win ends a two-game losing streak for Santa Barbara (6-10 overall, 2-3 in the Big West) and a five-game road losing streak. UC Davis (5-10 overall, 1-3 in the Big West) was going for a second straight win.
"It's good to see a young team like this face some adversity late in a game and make some plays," said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams. "We played good team defense in the final minute and some guys made some big shots."
With a lead that had reached 12 down to 55-51 when Corey Hawkins made a floating jumper at the 3:12 mark, it was time for the first big shot. Kyle Boswell drilled a three-pointer from deep in the left corner and was fouled by Josh Ritchart. Boswell made the ensuing free throw to extend the UCSB lead to 59-51.
But UC Davis wasn't going away as Hawkins made a pair of free throws and Ritchart made a three-pointer of his own to cut the gap back to 59-56 with 1:48 left in the game. But 25 second later, with 1:23 remaining on the clock, senior guard Nate Garth, who sat out Thursday's game at Pacific with a sprained ankle, took a pass from Michael Bryson on the left wing and buried a three-pointer of his own to give the Gauchos a 62-56 lead.
Hawkins responded for the Aggies by making a three-pointer from above the key with exactly a minute to play. After a UCSB turnover, Hawkins got a chance at another three-pointer, but with 20 second left the shot skipped off the rim and was knocked out of bounds by the Gauchos.
UC Davis had another chance to tie the score with 18 seconds left, but Ryan Sypkens missed a three-pointer from the right corner and this time, T.J. Taylor came down with the rebound. He was fouled immediately, but it was just the Aggies sixth team foul and UCSB had the ball out of bounds.
Taylor was fouled again when the ball was inbounded to him, but not until he slipped away from the first defender and dribbled several seconds off the clock. Olivier-Paul Betu committed his team's seventh team foul, sending Taylor to the line for a 1-plus-1 with seven seconds to play. The Gaucho sophomore calmly made both free throws to give UCSB a 64-59 advantage.
After another missed three-point attempt by Sypkens, Bryson was fouled on the rebound and like Taylor, he made two free throws to ice the 66-59 win.
The 28 points and 11 rebounds marked the ninth of the season for Williams, who was the focal point of the Gauchos' offense all night. He had 17 points and five rebounds in the first half and was virtually unstoppable.
"Al is tough to handle for a lot of teams," Williams said. "They (the Aggies) did a lot of things to stop him, but I thought he was pretty effective all night."
Taylor tied his season-high with 10 points and he also had six assists and three rebounds. Boswell had just seven points, but added a career-high five boards. Bryson, playing in front of a large hometown crowd, had nine points, three assists, three rebounds, one block and a steal.
UCSB held the Aggies to just 36.7% shooting from the floor. When UC Davis shoots under 50.0% in a game this season, they are 0-10. The Gauchos also won the battle of the boards, 37-30, but could force their opponent into just seven turnovers.
The Gauchos will return home for three straight after Saturday and first up will be Blue-Green Rivalry foe Cal Poly. The Mustangs will venture into the Thunderdome on Saturday, Jan. 19 for a 4:00 p.m. game that will be televised live on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
Tickets for all home games are available from the ticket office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Office Building, by calling 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.