LOGAN, Utah – Senior Kyle Boswell made a three-pointer from above the top of the key with eight seconds left in the game to complete a 6-0 game-ending rally and give UC Santa Barbara a 57-54 win over Troy University on the first night of the Basketball Travelers Classic in Logan, Utah on Thursday.
The Gauchos (6-3) have won three straight games and early on it looked like this one would be easy as they jumped on the Trojans (4-5) with a 9-0 run to open the game. But after UCSB took its biggest lead at 13-3 with 12:37 left in the first half, Troy rallied back with a 16-4 surge to take the lead, 19-17. The game was tied at half, 26-26.
The Gauchos fought back and a Taran Brown three-pointer completed an 8-1 run and tied the game at 51 with 2:18 left.
Hunter Williams made his sixth three of the game to push the Trojans back in front at 54-51 with 1:56 to play, setting the stage for UCSB's final push.
Alan Williams was fouled while shooting a jump-hook with 1:44 remaining and he made one-of-two free throws to make it 54-52. On the other end, Zalmico Harmon fouled Antoine Myers, sending Troy's point guard to the line for two free throws. Myers badly missed both shots and Alan Williams collected the rebound, giving the Gauchos life.
With just over a minute to play, freshman guard Eric Childress made a beautiful reverse lay-up that bounced on the rim twice before falling through and tying the score at 54 all.
Jeff Mullahey who had three three-point baskets and 11 points in the game, missed a long three from deep in the right corner and Alan Williams came down with another rebound. After a timeout, the Gauchos ran the clock down to 12 seconds before Childress penetrated and found Boswell free at the top of the three-point arc, giving the senior his opportunity to bury the shot and give UCSB the lead.
Hunter Williams missed a desperation three-pointer with just over a second to play as the ball bounced harmlessly off rim and the buzzer sounded.
"We were very fortunate and a very lucky team tonight," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "Where we were mentally is just a mystery to me. We were not into this game mentally and that's on me, that's my responsibility. I need to make sure they're ready and mentally prepared."
Still, coach Williams was pleased with how his team was up to the challenge in the closing minutes.
"We had a challenge with 3:30 to go," he said. "You have to be tough enough to come back when you're down. We were down five with 3:30 to go and we had a timeout. We found a way to come back and win it. In the end, our goal is to win games and we did that."
Alan Williams finished with his third double-double of the year. He had 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots. Brown had 12 points and Boswell chipped-in with nine. The Gauchos' second-leading scorer, Michael Bryson, was saddled with foul trouble and played just 18 minutes before fouling out.
As a team, UCSB hit 45.8% of its shots while Troy made just 31.3%. The Trojans were 12-of-28 from three-point range and just 3-of-20 from two-point territory. Hunter Williams led them with 18 points, all on three-pointers.
The Gauchos will play Utah State on Friday night with tip-off scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (PST). They will conclude the tournament on Saturday when they play Western Illinois in a 4:30 p.m. (PST) game at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan. Both games can be heard live on AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara and everywhere on the planet at UCSBgauchos.com.