BERKELEY – UC Santa Barbara equaled its season-high with 13 three-point baskets, including four by Kyle Boswell, but Cal was too strong inside and held off a late Gaucho rally to win a 68-59 decision at Haas Pavilion.
To win Tuesday nights’ game against the Golden Bears (7-3), UCSB (4-6) needed it to become an outside shooting contest. Cal was looking for more of an inside job, and that’s what they got.
“They (Cal) really did a good job of defending the key,” said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams. “They were quick, and effective, on their double-teams, and we really had trouble with that.”
UCSB finished the game having made 13-of-30 shots from three-point range, 43.3%, accounting for 39 of 59 points. Things didn’t go quite as well inside, making just 9-of-36 from two-point range, 25.0%. Cal had a 40-16 advantage on points in the paint.
Still, trailing 58-36 with 9:02 remaining in the game, Santa Barbara had one last charge to offer, outscoring the Golden Bears down the stretch 23-10.
“I thought we really kept playing,” Williams said. “Our perimeter guys got it going and Nate (Garth) was effective at initiating things. Tonight was one of his best games for us and that’s very good to see.”
Garth finished with 11 points, six assists and six rebounds. He scored all 11 of his points in the second half and helped spur the late rally.
Early on, UCSB depended almost solely on three-pointers and didn’t make its first two-point basket until Taran Brown followed a Lewis Thomas-miss with 6:33 left in the first half.
“Cal did a great job on Big Al (Alan Williams), but he also needs to become more comfortable passing out of the double-team and knowing when he is and isn’t on-balance for his shot,” Williams said. “He will learn from tonight.”
Williams, UCSB’s leading scorer, finished with a game-high 12 rebounds, but scored eight points on 4-of-18 shooting. He fouled out in the closing minutes.
The Gauchos were led by Kyle Boswell who made 4-of-10 shots from three-point range and finished with 12 points. Taran Brown, like Garth, had 11 points, making 3-of-7 shot from outside the three-point arc. Lewis Thomas was 3-for-4 from outside the arc and had a career-high nine points. Boswell (3) and Brown (2) combined for five three-pointers in their team’s late rally.
The Bears were led by reserve forward Robert Thurman who had 14 points. Guard Tyrone Wallace had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Allen Crabbe, the top scorer in the Pac-12 Conference, was limited to 12 points in 29 minutes, making only 4-of-12 field goal attempts. Guard Justin Cobbs, who torched the Gauchos in a game last season, had just eight points on 3-of-8 from the field.
The Gauchos will remain on the road for their final pre-Christmas game when they travel to Laramie, Wyo., on Friday, Dec. 21 for a 6:00 p.m. (PDT) game against the University of Wyoming Cowboys. After that game, UCSB will be off until it opens Big West Conference play on Saturday, Dec. 29 when it opens at Cal State Fullerton.