FULLERTON, Calif. – Alan Williams had his sixth double-double of the season with 22 points and 16 rebounds, but UC Santa Barbara couldn't overcome a career performance by Cal State Fullerton senior Sammy Yeager as the Gauchos dropped their Big West opener, 86-79.
Yeager made 8-of-11 three-pointers and scored 30 points for the Titans (7-5 overall, 1-0 in Big West) as they handed UCSB (4-8 overall, 0-1 in Big West) a third straight loss. In all, Fullerton made 14-of-30 shots from three-point range, 46.7%.
"I was not pleased with what we did defensively tonight," said head coach Bob Williams. "We just made too many mistakes and they (Fullerton) made us pay. We can talk all we want about being a young team and growing up, but tonight, on the defensive end, I didn't see any growth."
The offensive end was a different matter. One game after making a season-low one three-point basket, the Gauchos made a season-high 15, in 36 attempts. Freshman Taran Brown made a career-high six threes, finishing with 20 points and eight rebounds. Sophomores T.J. Talor and Lewis Thomas each had three three-pointers and Thomas finished with a career-high 11 points, all in the first half.
Alan Williams had just four points at halftime time but scored 18 in the second half and helped UCSB get back into the game after falling behind by 14.
"We didn't get Al enough touches in the first half," Bob Williams said. "He can be so effective inside, like he was in the second half, we just need to make sure to get him the ball."
Fullerton had a major advantage at the free throw line, where they outscored the Gauchos 20-2.
"You have to be tough to get to the free throw line and we weren't tough tonight," Coach Williams said. "Three free throws are not enough and you aren't going to win many games when that's all you shoot."
Senior point guard Nate Garth had nine points and a game-high eight assists for UCSB. The Gauchos also won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Titans 34-23. Kwame Vaughn was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line and added 27 points for Fullerton, which made 26-of-49 shots overall, 53.1%.
UCSB will play its first two games of 2013 at home, hosting UC Irvine at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 3 and Long Beach State at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 5. The game against the 49ers will be televised by Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
Tickets for the Gauchos' showdowns against Irvine and Long Beach, as well as all home games, can be purchased from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB (8272) or on-line by clicking here.