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MBK: Boswell makes clutch plays to lift UCSB over Cal Poly in 2 OTs

With its big man on the bench with an injury, guard Kyle Boswell played big and helped lift UCSB to
a dramatic 83-81 double-overtime win over Cal Poly on Saturday at the Thunderdome.

Down by one point, Boswell drove the lane for a layup and was fouled with 12 seconds left in the second overtime. He made the free throw to put the Gauchos ahead by two.

Cal Poly’s Chris Eversley got an open look from 12 feet but he misfired and UCSB won to pull even with the Mustangs in the Big West standings at 3-3.

Boswell, who scored 23 points, was huge for the Gauchos (7-10) in the second overtime. He tied the score at 75-75 with a jumper and he drew a foul while attempting a 3-point shot and made all three free throws to put his team ahead 80-79 with 1:06 to play.

“This game was decided on the backs of Kyle (Boswell), Nate (Garth), Taran (Brown) and a bunch of kids,” UCSB coach Bob Williams said. “I thought the job that Mike (Bryson), Mitch (Brewe) and Sam (Beeler) did was phenomenal. Defensively, those guys really had to step up. Mike (Bryson) taking on Eversley and holding him to 4-for-17 was huge. He grew-up today and that was a big reason why we won.”

The Gauchos needed big contributions from Brewe and Beeler after Al Williams went down with six minutes left in the first half with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. He landed hard after committing a foul while contesting a Mustang shot.

While Williams’ injury gave the Gauchos something to frown about early, the way the game finished gave them reason to smile.

Both teams struggled through an ugly first half with the Mustangs matching UCSB miss-for-miss, shooting just 29-percent.

The second half and the two overtimes were a different story.

Cal Poly freshman Reese Morgan scored nine of his career-high 26 points in the first half to help his team lead by as many as nine points. He finished with a career-high seven 3-pointers and was a major reason that the Mustangs maintained their lead until a Beeler lay-up, off of a perfect feed from T.J. Taylor, gave Santa Barbara 55-54 lead with 5:47 left in regulation.

Morgan answered Beeler’s basket with one of his 3-pointers to vault the Mustangs back into the lead, 57-55. UCSB’s Taran Brown followed suit, drilling a long 3-pointer from above the key to give his team a 58-57 edge. After a defensive stop, Brown hit Beeler for another running lay-up to push the Gauchos’ lead to 60-57 with 4:36 to play.

Cal Poly, however, wasn’t done. Joel Awich was fouled while driving to the basket and made both free throws, narrowing the gap to 60-59. UCSB then turned the ball over and Dylan Royer buried a 3-pointer from deep in the left corner, giving the Mustangs (7-9) a 62-60 lead.

A pair of free throws by Nate Garth knotted the contest at 62 apiece with 2:52 left, but Chris O’Brien made 1-of-2 shots from the line with 1:48 to play, reclaiming the edge for the Mustangs. After Beeler made 1-of-2 free throws, Morgan made another three, giving Cal Poly a 66-63 advantage with just over a minute to play.

Then it was time for Brown, who had struggled with his 3-point shot for much of the game. He hit his first trey of the game with 40 seconds to play, tying the score. The Mustangs’ Jamal Johnson missed a shot with four seconds left and Garth rebounded as time ran out in regulation.

Brown started the first overtime by nailing his second 3-pointer, giving the Gauchos a 69-66 lead. Cal Poly pulled to within 69-68 when Brian Bennett made a lay-up with 3:26 to play and then took a 71-69 lead on a Morgan jumper with 1:17 left in the first overtime. UCSB tied the score at 71-71 when freshman Mitch Brewe took a feed from Garth and scored on a lay-up with 11 seconds to play.

Both teams got a shot a game-winner in the final seconds of the first overtime, but neither scored.

The second overtime was a see-saw affair. The Mustangs assumed the lead at the outset as Bennett made a short jumper from the right side of the key. Garth made a pair of free throws to tie the score at 73-73 with 4:32 to play, but Eversley answered back with two free throws for the Mustangs, giving them a 75-73 advantage with 3:42 remaining.

A Boswell jumper tied the score at 75-all with less than three and a half minutes left. Bennett was fouled shooting a short jumper and made two free throws with 2:56 remaining, giving the Mustangs a 77-75 lead.

On the next possession, Morgan fouled UCSB’s Michael Bryson, and the Gaucho freshman calmly made a pair of free throws to knot the score at 77-77. Cal Poly re-claimed the lead, 79-77, at the 1:18 mark of the second overtime when Royer was fouled driving to the basket and made both free throws.

Just seconds later, with 1:06 to play in the game, Boswell made the first of his two huge plays for the Gauchos. He accepted a pass above the top of the key with just 1:10 to play, took a hard dribble and attempted a three-pointer. He was fouled on the shot by Awich and went to the line for three free throws. Boswell made all three charity shots, giving UCSB an 80-79 lead with 1:06 to play.

Cal Poly, however wasn’t done. After a timeout, the Mustangs got the ball to Drake U’u who curled off a pick, beat a Gaucho defender and went in for a lay-up, giving the Mustangs an 81-80 lead.

After a Santa Barbara timeout, it was Boswell who came through again. He took a pass from Garth, made a lay-up and was fouled. He completed the three-point play that proved to be the difference in the game.

Bryson finished with 10 points, five rebounds, three blocked shots and three steals. After struggling for much of the game, Brown had 15 points, seven rebound and two blocked shots. Brewe had a career-high 10 points, three rebounds and two assists. Beeler had five points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. Garth had eight assists and just two turnovers while T.J. Taylor had five assists.

Eversley had a double-double with 16 points and 15 boards for Cal Poly.