Gauchos pull out an OT win at Santa Clara

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Boswell buried a three-pointer from high above the top of the key as the buzzer sounded to end regulation, pulling UCSB and Santa Clara into a 71-71 tie and forcing an overtime and then the Gauchos gutted out a tense overtime to post their first road win of the season, 83-80.

“That was a great win for a very young team,” said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. “This is just one game, but it’s the kind of game I hope we can grow from. We had a lot of different players step up, and I’m excited about that.”

Not only was it the first road win for the Gauchos (3-4), they hadn’t even led in the second half of a road game until Duke DaRe made a pair of free throws with 8:38 to play to give them a 52-50 lead over the Broncos (4-2).

Santa Barbara’s win also meant that sophomore forward Alan Williams’ career night was not in vain. Before fouling out with 21 seconds left in the overtime, Williams battled his way to career-highs of 29 points and 17 rebounds. He also had a pair of blocked shots and two steals. He scored seven of the Gauchos’ 12 points in the overtime, along with three rebounds.

“Big Al made a statement tonight,” Coach Williams said. “He was so big inside and he made life easier for our perimeter guys.”

The perimeter guys had some big moments too. In addition to his game-tying three-point basket at the end of regulation, Boswell made three other three-point baskets, including two others in the second half. Also, with 19 seconds left in the OT, he made a free throw to stretch a two-point lead to three points, 81-78.

Freshman Taran Brown didn’t score his first points of the game until there was just 4:16 to play. At that point, he made a three-pointer to turn a 60-53 Bronco lead into a 60-56 lead and then, on the next possession, he drained another to make it one-point game, 60-59 with 3:42 left. Brown’s third three-pointer was from deep in the right corner and gave UCSB a 69-68 lead with nine seconds remaining. Raymond Cowels responded to Brown’s third triple by calmly sinking two free throws with 7.2 seconds to play, setting the stage for Boswell’s heroics.

“Taran and Kyle really stepped-up,” Coach Williams said. “Taran really struggled at times tonight and for him to make those three-pointers that late was huge. I’ve always thought that he may play better tired, and he may have tonight.

“I also can’t say enough about Kyle,” Williams continued. “He missed a three with about 30 seconds left, so for him to make the one to send it to the OT was fitting.”

Brown’s final two points of the game came with 7.4 ticks remaining on the clock in overtime as he calmly stepped up, after a Santa Clara timeout, and made a pair of free throws to push an 81-80 lead to the final 83-80 edge.

Brown’s free throws, however, didn’t end the game.

The Broncos got the ball into their best player, Kevin Foster, and he was fouled with less that half a second to play. Although he tried to launch a long three-pointer to draw a three-shot foul, the officials didn’t go for it and he was sent to the line for a pair. He missed the first, effectively ending the game, and then he missed the second.

Foster came into the game averaging 22 points per game, but with just five minutes left in the first half he had one point and had yet to make a field goal. He wound up making his first three-point basket and a lay-up in the waning minutes of the first half, and then he proceeded to score 20 points in the second half. Foster had just two points in the overtime and finished with 28 in the game. Guard Evan Roquemore added 22 for Santa Clara.

In addition to Alan Williams’ career-high 29, the Gauchos got 15 points from Boswell and 11 from Brown. Brown also finished with nine rebounds and a pair of steals. Lewis Thomas and Michael Bryson each tallies six points, all on three-pointers, as did Nate Garth, all from the free throw line. Garth also added five assists before fouling out. T.J. Taylor had six assists to lead UCSB.

The Gauchos, who trailed by as man as 11 points in the second half (46-35) bounced back from a brutal offensive performance on Wednesday night against Wyoming that saw them shoot just over 24 percent and score a mere 40 points. On Saturday night, they made 45.3% overall, but also a solid 11-of-25 from three-point territory, 44.0%.

The Gauchos will play their final pre-final examinations game when they travel to San Diego State on Thursday, Dec. 6.

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