SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Alan Williams had 27 points and a career-high 20 rebounds to lead first-place UC Santa Barbara to an 82-67 win over UC Davis on Saturday afternoon at the Thunderdome, but the highlight of the game was the first regular season appearance ever by John Green.
Green, listed as a sophomore, has been in the UCSB program since 2011-12, but a series of broken bones in both of his feet forced him to miss all of 2011-12 and 2012-13. He played in an exhibition game earlier this season and then a non-conference game against Hawaii-Pacific, was sidelined once again when a small break showed-up on an x-ray.
"A 20-20 is nothing compared to John being back out on the court," said Alan Williams. "He's been my roommate and I've seen what it's been like for him not to play. Tonight I got choked-up when he came in. The reaction of the crowd was great. He's my superhero."
Green made two appearances in the game and totaled seven minutes. He had two points and three rebounds.
"I was so pumped when that first shot went in," Alan Williams said. "I was praying so hard when he took his next shot too. Hopefully there will be many more."
UCSB head coach Bob Williams shared his player's sentiment.
"For what he's gone through and to finally get on the court in a real game is fantastic," Coach Williams said. "It was a pretty emotional moment for me and everyone connected with the team."
Alan Williams had a double-double by halftime with 10 points and 12 rebounds and didn't slow down in the second half as he added 17 points and eight more rebounds to become the first Gaucho to record a 20-20 game since Eric McArthur in 1990.
"Big Al has been great all season, but 20 points and 20 rebounds really gets your attention," said Coach Williams. "People around the country are already talking about him, but numbers like that really make you take notice. To have 20 or more points and 20 or more rebounds is a big deal."
Kyle Boswell provided another highlight for UCSB (14-6 overall, 5-2 in the Big West) when he made his third three-point basket to become just the third Gaucho player to make 200 threes in a career. He finished with 15 points.
Davis (7-15, 2-5) stayed in the game early, but the Gauchos stretched the lead to 36-22 by halftime and were never challenged again. The Aggies, on the strength of five three-pointers and 22 points from Ryan Sypkens, got within 77-64 with 3:16 left, but never got closer. Corey Hawkins added 15 points and six assists for the visitors.
Michael Bryson added 11 points for Santa Barbara while Eric Childress had eight points and three assists and really seemed to spark the team in the first half. Overall, the Gauchos made 29-of-54 shots overall, 53.7%, and outrebounded Davis 41-27. The Aggies made 41.8% overall and 8-of-24 three-point shots, 33.3%.
The win was the second in a row, fifth in the last six games and eighth in the last 10 for UCSB, which remains tied for first-place in the Big West Conference.
UCSB will travel to play at the University of Hawai'i on Thursday, Feb. 6 in a game that will tip-off at 9:00 p.m. (PST). The game can be heard live on AM 1290 KZSB and on-line at UCSBgauchos.com.