MBK: Gauchos ride Bryson’s scoring to 3rd straight win

NORTHRIDGE – Michael Bryson scored a season-high 26 points and UCSB came from behind to win its third consecutive game, 65-57 at Cal State Northridge on Saturday night.

UCSB (13-11 overall, 6-4 in the Big West) was playing its seventh consecutive game without its leading scorer and rebounder Alan Williams, going 5-2 over that span. The win avenged a January loss to CSUN (6-21, 2-10) at the Thunderdome.

“Michael has lit a fire under himself,” said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams. “He has taken his game to a different level, in all aspects, and it has come at a very opportune time.”

Bryson also made a season-high five three-pointers, on seven attempts, as he guided his team to its second road game of the season.

On the strength of two three-pointers by Bryson and another by John Green, the Gauchos jumped out to an early 15-10 lead. But trailing 22-19, CSUN went on an 11-0 run to take a 30-22 advantage on a lay-up by Taelin Webb with 4:06 left in the half.

The visitors closed to within 32-29 by the end of the half and then jumped out fast in the second half. After the teams traded lay-ups to start things, UCSB got a three from Bryson, a tip-in by Sam Beeler and a hanging scoop shot by Eric Childress to take a 38-34 advantage with 16:52 to play.

“I thought it was important that we come out strong in the second half,” Williams said. “Sam (Beeler) was a big part of that, hitting the lay-up to start things and then getting the big tip.”

The Gauchos never trailed again and once the lead jumped to 45-39 on a Gabe Vincent three-pointer with 12:42 left, it never fell below five the rest of the way and was actually extended to 10 on three occasions.

Bryson had a team-high seven rebounds for UCSB, while Vincent added nine points, Mitch Brewe had eight and Sam Beeler six. As a team, the Gauchos had just eight turnovers while forcing the Matadors into 16.