MBK: Williams, Bryson both All-Big West First Team

Michael Bryson - UCSB Basketball

Michael Bryson

Alan Williams

Alan Williams

Senior center Alan Williams and junior guard Michael Bryson were each named First Team All-Big West Conference, and freshman guard Gabe Vincent was selected the league’s Freshman of the Year on Monday as all five UC Santa Barbara starters received recognition.

In addition to Williams, Bryson and Vincent, junior John Green was named Honorable Mention All-Big West and senior guard Zalmico Harmon earned the leauge’s Hustle Award.

“All five of our guys earned their honor,” said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. “Their hard work paid off and they really helped our team hold things together when we were going through injuries and illness.”

Williams is averaging 16.8 points and 11.9 rebounds entering the postseason. He is ranks second in the nation in rebounding and has bounced back from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss seven games during the conference schedule. This season, Williams became UCSB’s all-time leading rebounder and now has 1,091 in his career. He also ranks fifth all-time in scoring with 1,670 points. He is just the third Gaucho to earn First Team All-Big West recognition three times, joining Orlando Johnson (2009-12) and John Tschogl (1969-72).

Bryson enters postseason averaging 14.1 points and 4.5 rebounds. He leads the Gauchos with 66 three-point baskets and he is the team’s top scorer in Big West play at 14.4 points per game. Bryson really stepped-up in the absence of Alan Williams. In the seven games that Williams missed with a shoulder injury, Bryson averaged nearly 18 points and six rebounds per game and the team went 7-2 over that span.

This marks the first time that two UCSB players have been named First Team All-Big West in the same season since 2002-03 when Branduinn Fullove and Mark Hull were honored.

Vincent is the first Gaucho player to be named Big West Freshman of the Year since 1993 when Kyle Milling earned the award. He is averaging 10.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Vincent missed five full games due to injuries and illness, but has still been an integral part of UCSB’s success. Most recently, in the Gauchos’ Mar. 4 win at Hawai’i, he scored a career-high 25 points. His 52 three-point baskets are the second most by a UCSB freshman and his 254 points rank 10th.

After playing just three official games because of injuries during his first three seasons, Green has played in all 30 games in 2014-15. He enters postseason averaging 11.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He leads the team in field goal percentage at 46.9%. Like Bryson, Green came through in a big way when Williams was out with a shoulder injury. In those seven games, he averaged 13 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

Harmon is averaging 6.2 points per game and leads the team in assists with 103. He has been an instrumental part of UCSB’s run of five straight wins and eight of nine to end the regular season. Harmon is the first Gaucho to earn the league’s Hustle Award since Chris Devine in 2006.

Santa Barbara will play Cal Poly in the First Round of the Big West Tournament on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

The Big West MVP went to UC Davis’ Corey Hawkins.

Joining Williams and Bryson on the First Team were Mike Caffey of Long Beach State, Will Davis of UC Irvine, Taylor Johns of UC Riverside and Hawkins.