Nothing is more deflating than giving up a big three-pointer — or eight.
On Tuesday night, Santa Barbara might have squandered its best opportunity to topple a nationally ranked team had it been able to defend the three-point ball better. The Gauchos traveled to #17 and two-time defending Big Ten Conference Champion Wisconsin-Madison. Largely due to giving up too many long balls (8-18) to the Badgers, Santa Barbara dropped a 61-72 final score to Wisconsin. UCSB seemingly played up to par with the heavily favored Badgers, if not for the fact that every time the Gauchos seemed to put a run together Wisconsin squelched it with a clutch trey.
“They started to rotate really well; [Clayton] Hanson got a lot of good hooks,” UCSB Head Coach Bob Williams said. “We didn’t do a good job on the zone defense.”
Hanson compiled a career high of 18 points and hit four three-pointers in the second half to ultimately put the game away for Wisconsin.
“That was a credit to using ball fakes,” Wisconsin Head Coach Bo Ryan said. “The credit goes to the other four jerseys.”
The score arguably would have been much closer at the half if not for four three-pointers by Badger Zach Morley in the first half.
“I just wonder maybe at halftime if they had a raffle to see who would come out at the second half and knock down four threes,” Williams said.
Morley used the depleted Gaucho frontcourt to exploit UCSB’s defense.
“We knew they were going to double in the post,” Morley said. “They did that and we just tried to find open spots in that zone.”
Despite the Badgers’ strong shooting display, forward Casey Cook helped keep the game close considering he scored seven of UCSB’s first nine points and finished with a game high 21 points.