A record-breaking night for senior center Alan Williams paved the way for the UCSB men’s basketball team yesterday against Seattle University, as the Gauchos defeated the Redhawks 87-46 at home.
With less than six minutes remaining in the first half and the Gauchos dominating, Big Al scored on a layup after grabbing the rebound, the 905th of his career, making him the all-time leading rebounder in UCSB history.
“It’s a tremendous honor, a lot of hard work put in and it felt good to do it in a winning fashion with my teammates,” Williams said of his accomplishment. “You can hear it over the intercom that I was close … When you’re out there, you’re just focusing on doing whatever it takes to go out there and help your teammates get the win.”
“I’ve been fortunate enough now to have a leading scorer, fortunate enough to have a leading rebounder, but I haven’t had a better kid than him, leading all these types of things and what he’s done,” Head Coach Bob Williams said. “So, I’m really proud to have Al as part of our program and been honored to coach him for these years.”
Big Al’s 16 point, 12 rebound performance improves the Gauchos’ overall record to 4-3 and keeps UCSB’s perfect record at home intact. Seattle’s record drops to 3-4 with the loss.
Santa Barbara came out on fire to start the game, taking a 22-8 lead halfway through the first half. Freshman guard Gabe Vincent provided a spark off the bench in his first appearance back from injury, shooting 3-5 from long distance and dishing out three assists. His 11 points in the half lead all scorers going into the break.
“I was just trying to get to 100 percent so I could come back and play hard,” Vincent said. “My coaching staff has faith in me and so do the players.”
Much of the Redhawks’ offensive struggles were a result of the defense played by the point guard duo of senior Zalmico Harmon and sophomore Eric Childress, both of whom contained Seattle’s main weapon in senior guard Isiah Umipig. Umipig, who came into the game as Seattle’s leading scorer, was limited to only four shot attempts and eight points in the half and was a non-factor in the second.
“I think our point guards did a phenomenal job guarding Umipig and making sure he never really got going,” junior guard Michael Bryson said. “That’s the biggest thing with him — once he gets going it’s really hard to stop him, so we never really let him get going.”
Umipig was not helped by his teammates either as only three other Redhawks scored before halftime, and the team as a whole shot only 32 percent from the field for the game, compared to 59 percent by the Gauchos. Senior guard Jarell Flora, the Redhawks’ second leading scorer, was also contained on the night to finish with only six points on a dismal 3-13 shooting.
UCSB did not take its foot off the gas coming out of halftime, applying pressure to Seattle and continuing to extend its lead; the Gauchos led 60-30 with 12 minutes left in the half, putting the game away for good.
With junior forward Mitch Brewe out due to a concussion suffered in the previous game, junior guard John Green replaced him in the starting lineup. Green contined to show flashes of what he is capable of when healthy as he totaled 11 points on an efficient 5-8 shooting.
UCSB will take the weekend off until Monday when it goes on the road once again to Texas to face Southern Methodist University.