MBK: Exhibition victory Green-lighted for Gauchos

John Green led UCSB in scoring and rebounding in Sunday's exhibition. (John Dvorak/Presidio Sports Photos)

John Green led UCSB in scoring and rebounding in Sunday’s exhibition. (John Dvorak/Presidio Sports Photos)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – John Green had 23 points and 12 rebounds to help UC Santa Barbara overcome a sluggish first half en route to a 66-45 exhibition win over visiting San Francisco State on Sunday evening.

The Gauchos led just 28-25 at the half, but outscored the Gators 38-20 in the second half to win going away. Green made 9-of-14 field goals, including a pair of three-pointers, and all 12 of his rebounds came on the offensive end. Michael Bryson added 20 points, 13 in the second half, while Gabe Vincent had 10 points, six rebounds and a team-high five assists.

Michael Bryson gets to the hoop for a contested basket in the second half.

Michael Bryson gets to the hoop for a contested basket in the second half.

BOX SCORE

“I don’t think we did anything particularly well tonight,” said 18th-year head coach Bob Williams. “I thought John (Green) was very good. He took a couple of quick three-pointers, but mostly he played well. When you have a double-double like he did, you’ve had a good game.”

The Gators scored the first four points of the game to take an early 4-0 lead. The Gauchos didn’t score until the 16:28 mark when Vincent hit his first of two three-point baskets, igniting 14-0 surge that was complete when Mitch Brewe scored on a put-back at the 10:02 mark in the first half.

SFSU was resilient and fought its way back into the game. By late in the first half, the UCSB lead was carved to one on several occasions, the last time when Warren Jackson’s lay-up with 37 seconds remaining made the score 26-25. A short jumper by Green extended the advantage to 28-25 at the break.

“At halftime we talked to the team about not taking early three-pointers,” Williams said. “The first eight minutes of the second half weren’t much different, but then something clicked and we started to look for other options.”

When SFSU’s Ryne Williams made a three-pointer from the top of the key with 12:25 on the clock, it was still a three-point game at 37-34, but a 14-2 Gaucho run extended the lead to 51-36. Green had eight of his points and made both of his three-pointers during the stretch.

“I felt good,” Green said. “The opportunity to get on the court and play against someone but my own teammates was great.”

While Vincent struggled with his shooting touch for much of the game, he hit back-to-back shots late, including a three-pointer with 1:51 to play, to give the Gauchos their biggest lead of the game, 65-42.

“Gabe didn’t shoot the ball well, but he has been a great shooter in practice the last few weeks,” Williams said. “Tonight it wasn’t falling for him until the end, but he figures it out. He has such a well-rounded game and shooting is not a concern with him.”

After struggling through the first half, UCSB hit 14-of-28 shots in the second half to finish at 43.9%. Also, after committing seven turnovers in the first half, the Gauchos had just two in the second half and finished with nine.

Senior Sam Beeler had four points, including a nifty tip-in during a big second half run, to go along with seven rebounds in 19 minutes. Mitch Brewe had eight points and three boards, and Ami Lakoju had a rebound and a steal. The trio combined to give UCSB 12 points, 11 rebound and a pair of steals from the five spot.

Senior T.J. Taylor was scoreless, but he played 24 minutes at the point guard position and tied Vincent for the team-lead with five assists.

The Gators were led by Floyd Wormley who had 12 points, six rebounds and four assists. As a team, they made just 15-of-59 field goal attempts, 25.4%, including a mere 7-of-33 in the second half, 21.2%.

The Gauchos open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 13 when they travel to the University of Nebraska Omaha for a 5:00 pm (PST) game. They will remain on the road when they travel to Cal on Monday, Nov. 16 for a 7:00 p.m. game against the Golden Bears.

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