MBK: Gaucho ‘O’ lights it up in 98-90 win at Hawaii

UCSB freshman Gabe Vincent scored a career-high 27 points.

UCSB freshman Gabe Vincent scored a career-high 25 points to help the Gauchos outlast Hawaii.

HONOLULU – Freshman Gabe Vincent scored a career-high 25 points and Michael Bryson tossed in 22, becoming the 27th player in school history to surpass 1,000 points, as UC Santa Barbara held on to win its final road game of the season, 98-90 at Hawaii on Wednesday night.

The Gauchos (17-12 overall, 10-5 in Big West) extended its longest winning streak of the season to four and they swept the season series from the Rainbow Warriors (19-12, 7-8). They also clinched at least a third-place finish in the Big West Conference’s regular season standings.

“Tonight, I thought, we played very well and had a lot of players really step-up,” said head coach Bob Williams. “This is the first time this season we’ve had five players score 10 or more and I love that kind of balance. This was a very good offensive performance.”

In fact, the 98 points were the most scored by UCSB since Feb. 26, 2004 when it tallied 98 in a double-overtime win at Cal State Fullerton. The last time the team scored more in regulation was against Nevada on Jan. 15, 1998, when it scored 99.

Vincent and Bryson were joined in double-figures by Alan Williams with 13, John Green with 12 and Zalmico Harmon with 10. Williams added 10 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season. Bryson ended the game with 1,007 career points, 26th in school history.

UCSB never trailed in winning for the seventh time in eight games. Vincent made his first of a career-high tying five three-pointers with 17:51 left in the first half to snap the game’s final tie and give the Gauchos an 8-5 lead. They built the lead to 28-15 on a lay-up by Bryson with 11:22 left.

UH battled back to within 36-33 on a Stefan Jankovic baseline jump-hook with 6:07 remaining, but the Warriors never got that close again the rest of the way, trailing 49-39 at the half.

In the second half, Santa Barbara remained hot. They pushed the lead to 73-56 when DaJuan Smith stole a pass, raced down the court, went in for a lay-up, but instead hit Bryson with a pass for a slam dunk with 10:07 left in the game.

The Rainbow Warriors scratched back, twice cutting the lead to six – the final time on a lay-up by Roderick Bobbitt with 11 seconds left – but never got closer. As the Gauchos made 29-of-36 free throws, many down the stretch, to seal the win.

UCSB finished the game shooting 56.4% overall and 50.0 from three-point range. Hawaii, who was led by Bobbitt with 26 and Jankovic with 20, made 52.0% of its shots, but hit just 8-of-23 from three-point range, 34.8%. Also, the Gauchos won the battle of the boards, 29-20.

Vincent added a team-high five assists to his 25 points. Bryson had five rebounds, three assists and three steals.

The Gauchos will play their final regular season game on Saturday, Mar. 7 when they host Cal Poly in a 3:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. UCSB seniors Alan Williams and Zalmico Harmon will be honored following the game.

The UCSB-Cal Poly match-up will be highlighted another celebration as well. At halftime, the 1989-90 Gaucho team that beat Houston in the first round of the NCAA  Tournament and narrowly lost to Big Ten champion Michigan State in the second round will be honored.