Sacramento State Rallies Past UCSB, 51-50

T.J. Taylor (Photo by Matt Brown)
T.J. Taylor (Photo by Matt Brown)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Konner Veteto's lay-up with 5.4 seconds to play gave visiting Sacramento State a 51-50 win over UC Santa Barbara in a Ramada World Wide BracketBuster game on Saturday night. 

Veteto's basket culminated a second half comeback by the Hornets (13-12 overall) that saw them overcome a 40-28 disadvantage.  UCSB (8-18 overall) had taken a 50-49 lead with 18.3 seconds left in the game on a long three-pointer from the corner by Taran Brown

A three-point attempt by the Gauchos' Michael Bryson bounced off the side of the rim as the game ended. 

"Give them (Sac State) credit, they played with more urgency than us, especially in the second half," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams.  "Right now it seems like our guys don't get it.  They aren't playing with any urgency and that is a big concern for me."

The Hornets won despite making just 32.7% of their shots.  The Gauchos weren't much better at 33.3%.  Brown led Santa Barbara with 18 points, but he was the only player in double-figures.  T.J. Taylor had nine points, all on three-point baskets, six assists and just one turnover in 38 minutes. 

"T.J. was the best player on the floor for us tonight," Williams said.  "He got us off to a good start with his three-pointers in the first half and he took great care of the basketball." 

Veteto was one of four Sac State players to score in double-figures with 11.  He also added a team-high eight rebounds.  Dylan Garrity and John Dickson each added 12 for the Hornets.

Playing with just eight available players, UCSB's troubles were even deeper when three of the eight had four fouls with more than 10 minutes to play. 

Sparked by a trio of three-pointers and nine points from Taylor, the Gauchos claimed a 29-21 halftime lead.  The Hornets were ice cold in the first 20 minutes, making just 5-of-25 shots, including 2-of-17 from inside the three-point arc. 

UCSB pushed the lead to 12 on two occasions in the second half, the final time coming at 40-28 when Brown made a pair of free throws with 12:20 left in the game, but back-to-back three-point baskets by Dickson and Garrity capped a 14-3 Sac State run that saw the Gaucho lead shaved to 43-42 with 5:44 to play. 

Santa Barbara was able to maintain the lead until another three by Dickinson gave the Hornets their first lead of the game, 47-45, with just 1:34 remaining.  A jumper by Alan Williams tied the score at 47, but a lay-up by Dickinson put his team up 49-47 with 33 seconds left in the game and set the stage for the baskets by Brown and Veteto.

Williams, UCSB's leading scorer, was held to just eight points and had one of his worst shooting performances of the season, making just 3-of-14 field goal attempts.  He did add a game-high 11 rebounds and he tied his career-high with five steals. 

UCSB will return to Big West action this week when it travels to the University of Hawaii on Thursday and Cal State Northridge on Saturday.  The Gauchos return home for the final weekend of the season hosting Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, Mar. 7 and UC Riverside on Saturday, Mar. 9.  Both games will tip at 7:00 p.m. and tickets can be purchased from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.