SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The temperature outside was in the 70s at game time, but inside the Thunderdome, UC Santa Barbara was ice cold in the first half and paid the price, dropping a 72-64 decision to Cal Poly despite a 33-point, 15-rebound effort from Alan Williams.
The Gauchos (9-5 overall, 0-1 in the Big West) shot just 34.8% in the first half and hit a mere 2-of-17 from three-point distance for the game against the Mustangs (6-9 overall, 2-0 in the Big West). Conversely, the visitors made 11 three-pointers and hit 61.1% from outside the arc for the game.
"I didn't think we played with much focus tonight," said head coach Bob Williams. "It felt like, in the first half especially, that we didn't play this as a conference game. We took too many threes early and that's just not our game."
The Gauchos missed three straight threes during two early possessions and that seemed to set the tone.
"When you have a weapon like Al (Williams), you have to go inside over and over," Coach Williams said. "Those early misses, especially two on the same possession, really hurt us. Our mentality has to be to go inside."
UCSB held its last lead at 15-14 on a Williams jumper with 7:53 left in the first half. Anthony Silvstri made back-to-back three-pointers to give Cal Poly a 20-15 lead and the Mustangs never looked back. Silvestri finished with six three-pointers and a team-high 17 points.
The Gauchos trailed 28-24 at halftime but the lead stretched to double-figures early in the second half. They were able to scratch back within three twice in the final minutes, the last time at 58-55 with 4:01 to play, but each time Cal Poly answered.
In addition to making 61.1 of their three-pointers, the Mustangs committed only three turnovers in the game.
"They took great care of the ball," Coach Williams said. "Normally we come with our smaller lineup to speed things up and force some turnovers, but tonight that just didn't happen."
For Alan Williams, the double-double was his sixth of the season and the 33 points were the second highest total of his career. When UCSB did start pounding the ball inside in the second half, he responded with 22 points.
Zalmico Harmon, who made one of the Gauchos' two three-pointers, was the only other player in double-figures with 10 points. As a team, UCSB had 14 assists and just seven turnovers and outrebounded the Mustangs, 37-26.
Cal Poly had four players in double-figures. In addition to Silvestri, Dave Nwaba had 14, Chris Eversley had 13 and Taylor Sutlive added 11.
UCSB remains at home to host Long Beach State on Thursday, Jan. 16 in a game that has been moved to 8:00 p.m. to accommodate ESPNU. Tickets are available from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.