Gauchos Fall to Hot-Shooting San Diego, 79-65

John Green (Photo by Shane Roper)
John Green (Photo by Shane Roper)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Johnny Dee scored 22 points, Chris Anderson added 17 and the duo spearheaded an assault that saw the University of San Diego make 10-of-14 shots from outside the three-point arc en route to a 79-65 win over UC Santa Barbara on Thursday night. 

The Toreros (5-5) jumped out to a 41-26 after the first half and the Gauchos (4-5) could never get closer than seven in the second half. It seemed that every time UCSB inched within striking distance either Dee or Anderson would drain a three. 

"We knew they were both great shooters and we just didn't get the job done defensively tonight," said Gaucho guard Gabe Vincent. "There are no excuses. I just don't think we were mentally ready to play in the first half and we paid the price." 

The Gauchos led by as many as three points in the opening minutes, but San Diego took a 10-9 lead on a short jumper by Jito Kok with 14:45 to play in the first half and never looked back. The Toreros led 29-24 but closed the half on a 12-2 run, including a Dee three-pointer with four seconds left.

Alan Williams and Michael Bryson, UCSB's two leading scorers, were limited to five points in the first half, all from Williams. In the second half, the duo came alive, combining for 26 points, Williams finished with 18, to go along with eight rebounds and seven blocked shots, six of which came in the final 20 minutes. Bryson finished with 13 points. 

"They both had a quiet first half," said head coach Bob Williams. "Alan may have been pressing a little and Michael can play a little passive at times. I thought they both showed great leadership in the second half, but it was too late."

After falling behind 50-33 on a dunk by Brandon Perry with 16:11 remaining, the Gauchos staged a 17-7 rally over the next several minutes to cut the lead to 57-50 on a Gabe Vincent three-pointer with 6:31 left, but San Diego responded and the lead never fell below eight the rest of the way. Vincent, who finished with 13 points in 15 minutes, fouled out less than two minutes after making his second three of the game.

"We missed Gabe down the stretch," Coach Williams said. "I don't know how much of a difference he would have made, but he can really shoot it and wants to take big shots." 

John Green added 10 points and a career-high eight rebounds for UCSB, which made just 22-of-55 shots from the field, 40.0%. The Gauchos also had 14 turnovers, double their total of the previous game. Williams' seven blocked shots were one shy of his personal best and a school record. 

While the Toreros hit 10-of-14 three-point attempts, they were not as efficient from inside the arc, making just 11-of-31, but they also won the battle of the board, 34-31.

UCSB will take the next several days off for final exams before returning to action on Friday, Dec. 19 to host San Diego Christian in a 4:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome. That game will be followed by a Gaucho women's game against LSU.