SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Alan Williams had 18 points and 11 rebounds, senior Kyle Boswell, playing his final home game, scored 17 points and UC Santa Barbara made 10-of-16 three-pointers en route to an 86-77 win over Hawai'i on Thursday night.
The win guarantees UCSB (20-8 overall, 11-4 in the Big West) of a top-two seed at next week's Big West Tournament. With UC Irvine also winning on Thursday, the Gauchos still trail the Anteaters by one game in the league standings. The Rainbow Warriors (19-10, 8-7) will likely be the fourth seed.
Williams and Boswell led a balanced offensive attack that saw five Gauchos score in double-figures. Boswell also made a pair of three-pointers to give him 212 in his career, third in school history. Zalmico Harmon added 16, Michael Bryson had 13 and Mitch Brewe scored 11.
The Gauchos built a 19-point first half lead, primarily on the strength of a 7-for-10 performance from three-point range, but a spate of turnovers helped UH cut the lead to 36-27 before Eric Childress made the final basket of the half, a three from deep in the right corner, to push the lead back to 39-27 at the break.
Santa Barbara extended the lead to 19 three times in the second half, the final time when Williams hit a free throw with 4:30 to play to make it 70-51. Hawai'i used a fullcourt press to eat into the lead, getting it to 82-75 on a three-pointer by Aaron Valdes with 20 second to play, but they got no closer.
"I was happy with a lot of things tonight," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "While I wasn't happy that we didn't close the game out strong, I thought getting the lead to 19 points against a quality opponent was impressive. I was also happy that Bos finished his home career with a very good game."
In addition to 17 points, Boswell had five rebounds and four assists. He made 5-of-8 field goals overall and 2-of-4 from outside the three-point arc. Five different Gauchos made three-point baskets. Bryson was 3-of-4, Harmon was 2-of-4, Brewe was 2-for-2 and Eric Childress made his only attempt.
Christian Standhardinger paced the Rainbow Warriors with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Keith Shamburger had 16 points. Shamburger made 4-of-5 three-point attempts.
The win marks the 12th time in school history that UCSB has won 20 or more games. It is the third time in the last five years and the fifth time during Williams' tenure as head coach that they have done so. The victory also gives the Gauchos nine more wins than last season, the largest increase from one season to the next in modern history.
UCSB will play its final regular season home game on Saturday when it travels to Cal Poly for a 7:00 p.m. game against the Mustangs. The game will be part of the Blue-Green Rivalry Series and can be heard on AM 1290 KZSB or online at UCSBgauchos.com.