Big Second Half Pushes Gauchos Past First-Place Aggies, 74-60

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

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Michael Bryson scored 20 points and John Green added 15, including nine straight early in the second half to break a 36-36 tie, leading UC Santa Barbara to a 74-60 Big West win over first-place UC Davis on Thursday night. The win snapped the Aggies seven-game winning streak. 

Alan Williams added 15 points, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Gauchos (15-12 overall, 8-5 Big West). UC Davis (21-5, 11-2) was led by Corey Hawkins who finished with 18 points. 

The game was tied 30 all at halftime and was still knotted at 36-36 when Green made a three-pointer from above the key to make it 39-36 Gauchos with 16:14 to play. After Hawkins missed a lay-up on the other end, Green rebounded a miss of his own and got the put-back to bake it 41-36. Then, after a steal by Bryson, he had a short jumper to push the lead to 43-36 with 14:52 remaining. 

Green actually scored nine straight, scoring the first two on a free throw line jumper before a Josh Fox lay-up tied it at 36. 

"John was very good during that stretch," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "The three he made was in great rhythm and, I think, kind of got us going a little bit." 

The Aggies pulled as close as 43-40 on a pair of Avery Johnson free throws with 14:06 left, but a three-pointer by Bryson and a lay-up by DaJuan Smith pushed the advantage back to eight and it never fell below five the rest of the way. 

Williams, playing his first home game in more than a month, also added four assists to his 45th career double-double. 

"It felt great to walk back into the Thunderdome with a uniform on and actually play," Alan Williams said. "It was great to get a win and that's the main thing."

UCSB limited Davis, the nation's best three-point shooting team, to just 4-of-16 from outside the arc, 25.0%. The Aggies made just 2-of-10 in the second half. 

"It was our goal tonight to really pressure them on the perimeter and contest as many shots as we could," Bryson said. "Mostly we did a good job of that. They're a great team and they hurt us from the outside at their place so overall I think we did a good job on that tonight."

The Gauchos, meanwhile, made 8-of-17 shots from three-point territory. Bryson was 4-for-9 and Gabe Vincent 3-for-4. As a team, UCSB also had 21 assists with a quartet of players leading the way with four.

 

"One of our goals is always to move the ball, share it, swing it," Coach Williams said. "Tonight it all started with Big Al (Williams), I thought he really got the ball moving when it was in his hands and everyone else benefited."

UCSB has now won two straight and five out of six. They will host UC Irvine on Saturday night in a 9:00 p.m. game that will be televised on ESPN2. åå