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On its longest road trip of the season, the UCSB men’s basketball team defeated Hawaii 75-64 in a come-from-behind fashion Thursday to remain near the top of the Big West standings. Sophomore guard Michael Bryson scored eight of the final 10 points for the Gauchos to hold off a late rally by the Rainbow Warriors.
Santa Barbara improved to 15-6 overall and 6-2 in the Big West with the victory, remaining a half game behind UC Irvine (7-2) in the conference standings. Hawaii followed up with a victory over Cal Poly on Saturday and sits at 5-4 in the conference and 16-7 overall.
Hawaii took an early advantage in the first half, leading by as many as nine points before UCSB closed the gap to a 37-34 halftime score in favor of the home team. Both teams traded blows in the opening minutes of the second half before the Gauchos began to take the game over.
Trailing 44-43, Santa Barbara went on a 12-2 run to take nine-point lead. Hawaii closed the deficit to three midway through the second half, but would never get any closer as the Gauchos slowly pulled away late in the game.
With just under four minutes remaining and the Gauchos leading by six, Bryson took the game over, making a pair of free throws and three-point baskets to score eight of the final 10 points for UCSB and close out the game. Bryson finished the game with 18 points, second most in the contest of any player.
Per As usual, junior center Alan Williams led UCSB by posting his 10th double-double of the season with 20 points and 17 rebounds. The reigning Big West Player of the Week ranks seventh in the nation in scoring (23.1 ppg) and is third in rebounds per game (11.4 rpg). In addition, Big Al tallied five blocked shots and ranks second in the conference.
Sophomore forward Taran Brown finished the game with 13 points, 10 coming in the first half alone. Junior point guard Zalmico Harmon scored all 10 of his points in the second half on an efficient 4-5 shooting night.
A pair of forwards in sophomore Isaac Fotu and senior Christian Standhardinger led Hawaii. Fotu finished the game with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Standhardinger totaled 15 points and nine boards.
With the rebounding and turnover margins relatively similar, this game came down to the shooting of both teams. The Gauchos were 8-22 shooting from beyond the arc compared to just 3-19 for the Rainbow Warriors and made the same amount of field goals despite 11 fewer shot attempts.
UCSB next travels to Long Beach State on Thursday.
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of the Daily Nexus.