SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara used a 16-0 run to open the second half and rode a balanced offensive attack to an 88-65 exhibition win over visiting Cal State East Bay on Sunday afternoon.
Michael Bryson led the scoring with 22 points and nine rebounds while Alan Williams had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Williams also added six blocked shots. Kyle Boswell scored 13 points and guard Zalmico Harmon had 10 in his Gaucho debut.
UCSB led just 39-34 at halftime, but with Williams and Boswell each scoring five points during the decisive run, things got much more comfortable in the second half. Bryson completed the run with a three-point basket at the 17:01 mark, making it 55-34 Gauchos.
The Pioneers never got closer than 17 the rest of the way.
"Al and Z (Harmon) really excelled at the start of the second half," said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams. "They played so physically that they just took them (the Pioneers) out of their game. Our other guys really fed off of them and got some open looks and easy shots."
Bryson, who set a school freshman record with 29 points in last year's final game, didn't miss a beat and was even better all-around Sunday.
"Michael is a very good basketball player," Williams said. "We are trying to get him to elevate many parts of his game and he takes that very seriously. He wants to be our best rebounder, our best defender, our best shooter and he is willing to work to get to that point."
Bryson made 3-of-5 three-point shots, the same as Boswell, and if it had been a game that counted he would have set a personal best with his nine rebounds. He said that this year's Gaucho team believes it has something to prove after struggling last year.
"We weren't happy with how things turned out last year," Bryson said of the Gauchos' 11-20 season. "We have committed to leaving it out on the floor in every game this year and even though this was an exhibition game, we wanted to take it very seriously and play with purpose."
UCSB outrebounded Cal State East Bay by a 54-34 margin and limited the Pioneers to 34.8% shooting. Also, after committing 12 first half turnovers, the Gauchos cleaned things up in the second half and finished with 17.
Cal State East Bay also had a balanced effort with four players in double-figures, led by Gabe Kindred who had 16.
UCSB will open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 8 when it hosts Hawaii-Pacific in a 7:00 p.m. at the Thunderdome. The Gauchos will then travel to UNLV for a Nov. 12 game against the Runnin' Rebels.
Great season ticket packages remain available for men's and women's basketball. For more information or to purchase tickets, drop by the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call 805-893-UCSB (8272) or click here.