Christian Standhardinger had 31 points and 16 rebounds, Vander Joaquim had 17 points and 11 rebounds as visiting Hawaii held on to defeat UCSB 78-73 on Saturday afternoon at the Thunderdome.
The Gauchos (7-12 overall, 3-5 in the Big West) played their second straight game without leading scorer and rebounder Alan Williams who remained sidelined with a left leg injury. The win was the first on the road in league play for the Rainbow Warriors (11-9 overall, 5-4 in the Big West).
Hawaii used a 27-14 run over the first 9:35 of the second half to break open what had been a two-point game at the break (36-34) and take a 63-48 lead with 10:25 to play in the game. Standhardinger scored 15 of his team’s 27 points to start the second half.
“He (Standhardinger) is the type of player you haven’t really seen in this conference,” said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. “He is a 6-8 wing player who can get to the rim, shot the mid-range stuff and rebound. That was a great effort by him today.”
T.J. Taylor scored nine straight points to lead an 11-3 surge that got UCSB within 66-59, but the Gauchos had an opportunity to get within five, but missed a pair of lay-ups and never got closer than the final score when Nate Garth nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer.
“We had a couple opportunities on lay-ups, but we didn’t convert and that hurt us,” Williams said. “That happens, but it was kind of costly tonight.”
The other thing that was costly for the Gauchos was Hawaii’s 45-30 rebounding edge. The Rainbow Warriors also finished with 19 offensive rebounds and, at one point in the second half, had 15 offensive rebounds and 28 total missed shots, including rebounds.
“Al (Williams) takes up a lot of space and that was part of it,” Williams said of the Warriors’ rebound advantage. “But part of it too is how physical you are willing to be. We weren’t smart, in terms of how physical we were. In reality, we didn’t commit to being physical and the rebounding margin was a result.”
Freshman Taran Brown led UCSB with 15 points and six rebounds, but he struggled from the field, making just 7-of-23 shots overall and 1-for-12 from outside the three-point arc. Kyle Boswell had 12 points, but he was held without a three-pointer for just the second time this season. Taylor finished with a season-high 11.
There were some bright spots for the Gauchos. Nate Garth, the team’s only senior, had eight points and eight assists, but just one turnover. Taylor had four assists and no turnovers. As a team, UCSB had a mere eight turnovers. For Hawaii, Hauns Brererton chipped-in 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
The Gauchos return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 30 when they travel to Long Beach State for a 9:00 p.m. game against the 49ers. The rematch of the last three Big West Tournament title games will be televised live on ESPNews.