The shots weren’t falling for the UCSB men’s basketball team last night as the Gauchos dropped a 64-56 game to UC Davis that extended Santa Barbara’s season long losing streak to five games.
UCSB falls to 7-15 on the season with the loss and is now in ninth place and outside of postseason contention with a 3-8 mark in the Big West. Davis improves to 9-12 on the season and evens up its conference record at 5-5.
“I’m actually embarrassed by how we played,” Head Coach Bob Williams said. “In a must-win situation for us, in a crucial game for us to come out and play like that is a disappointment. Anybody can take shots, players make shots, and we’ve got to start making some shots.”
Santa Barbara shot a miserable 5-27 from beyond the arc in the game with four of the makes coming from junior guard Kyle Boswell, who finished with 14 points. Overall, UCSB shot 34.9 percent from the field last night.
“We got good shots up there, they just weren’t falling tonight,” freshman guard Michael Bryson said. “There were times when people were right open and not able to knock it down. We’re going to have bad shooting nights, but we can’t blame the game on just the shooting. [Davis] shot lights out and we can’t let that happen.”
While Santa Barbara came out cold, Davis was on fire from the start, shooting nearly 49 percent from the field on the night. In the first half, the Aggies were shooting above 50 percent from both the field and behind the three.
Sophomore guard Corey Hawkins, the Big West leading scorer, led all players with 20 points on the night while registering a team high nine rebounds. Junior guard Ryan Sypkens added 15 points while sophomore forward J.T. Adenrele scored 10 for Davis.
“We’re not playing together as a group, as a team right now,” sophomore center Alan Williams said. “It wasn’t close by any stretch of the imagination tonight. They completely dominated us.”
Big Al, who was playing in only his second game since returning from injury, registered team highs with 15 points and 13 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season.
Bryson scored 13 points for UCSB but was 1-8 on three-point shots. He, along with freshman forward Taran Brown, pulled down eight rebounds for a Gauchos squad that fell behind 34-22 at the half.
“I’m surprised we were so bad offensively that first half,” Coach Williams said. “We got frustrated, rattled by the physicalness of the game, rattled by just how they came at us. I don’t think we ever played offensively very well.”
The Gauchos will now shift their focus to Saturday night’s game against Pacific, which fell 67-62 against Cal Poly last night. Despite the loss, the Tigers sit in second place in the Big West with a 13-9 overall record and 7-3 mark in conference play.
“I can’t see this basketball team beating Pacific without hitting threes,” Coach Williams said. “We’re going to have to just keep grinding and shoot the ball better.”
With 10 teams in the Big West this season, only the top eight will advance to the conference tournament. Now with only seven conference games remaining, UCSB must win immediately if it wants to play well into March.
“We’ve just got to come together and figure it out and win some games,” Big Al said. “It’s not about X’s and O’s or anything like that, it’s about our heart and our determination and our pride in going out there and representing UCSB basketball in the best way we can, and right now, we’re not doing that.”
Tip-off for Saturday night’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Thunderdome.