NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Michael Bryson scored a season-high 26 points and UC Santa Barbara came from behind to win its third consecutive game, 65-57 at Cal State Northridge on Saturday night.
UCSB (13-11 overall, 6-4 in the Big West) was playing its seventh consecutive game without its leading scorer and rebounder Alan Williams, going 5-2 over that span. The win avenged a January loss to CSUN (6-21, 2-10) at the Thunderdome.
"Michael has lit a fire under himself," said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams. "He has taken his game to a different level, in all aspects, and it has come at a very opportune time."
Bryson also made a season-high five three-pointers, on seven attempts, as he guided his team to its second road game of the season.
On the strength of two three-pointers by Bryson and another by John Green, the Gauchos jumped out to an early 15-10 lead. But trailing 22-19, CSUN went on an 11-0 run to take a 30-22 advantage on a lay-up by Taelin Webb with 4:06 left in the half.
The visitors closed to within 32-29 by the end of the half and then jumped out fast in the second half. After the teams traded lay-ups to start things, UCSB got a three from Bryson, a tip-in by Sam Beeler and a hanging scoop shot by Eric Childress to take a 38-34 advantage with 16:52 to play.
"I thought it was important that we come out strong in the second half," Williams said. "Sam (Beeler) was a big part of that, hitting the lay-up to start things and then getting the big tip."
The Gauchos never trailed again and once the lead jumped to 45-39 on a Gabe Vincent three-pointer with 12:42 left, it never fell below five the rest of the way and was actually extended to 10 on three occasions.
Bryson had a team-high seven rebounds for UCSB, while Vincent added nine points, Mitch Brewe had eight and Sam Beeler six. As a team, the Gauchos had just eight turnovers while forcing the Matadors into 16.
The Gauchos will remain on the road for their next two games. They will travel to UC Riverside on Thursday, Feb. 19 to battle the Highlanders in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Student Recreation Center. On Saturday, Feb. 21, UCSB will play at Cal State Fullerton in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN3. The game at Titan Gym will tip-off at 5:00 p.m.