Gauchos Come Through In Clutch, Win at Washington 83-78

Mitch Brewe (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Mitch Brewe (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SEATTLE, Wash. – For much of the early part of the 2015-16 season, free throws have been among the banes of UC Santa Barbara's existence, but on Monday they were among the keys to an 83-78 win at Washington, the program's first win on the road against a Pac 12 school since 2003. 

The Gauchos (4-7) made all nine of their free throws in the second half, including 6-for-6 in the final 1:51 to hand the Huskies (8-4) the defeat. It was UCSB's second straight win. 

The Gauchos never trailed in the second half. They led UW by as many as 11 points in the first half and still had a 73-63 edge when Michael Bryson made a pair of free throws with 5:13 to play. But the home team used an 8-0 run to narrow the lead to 73-71 on a pair of free throws by Andrew Andrews with 2:43 to play, setting the stage for a thrilling ending. 

Seattle-native Mitch Brewe was in the middle of much of the late action. With 2:12 on the clock, he rebounded his own miss and made a lay-up to extend the lead back to 75-71, ending UCSB's scoring drought at just over three minutes. After UW's David Crisp missed a three-pointer, Gabe Vincent collected the rebound and was fouled as he tried to race up the sideline. Vincent made a pair of free throws to give his team a 77-71 lead at the 1:51 mark. 

Crisp responded for the Huskies with a long three-pointer, cutting the gap to 77-74 with 1:37 left. Following a timeout, Vincent made a tough jumper from near the free throw line to give the Gauchos a 79-74 advantage with just over a minute to play. 

At the 0:52 mark, Matisse Thybulle scored on a lay-up to make it a 79-76 game. On the ensuing possession Vincent missed a long shot as time ran down on the 30-second clock. Dejounte Murray rebounded for the Huskies and quickly got the ball to Andrews, whose long three-point miss was rebounded by Brewe and he was immediately fouled with 18 seconds remaining. He hit both free throws to make it 81-76. 

Malik Dime rebounded a missed three-point attempt by Crisp and scored UW's final two points on a lay-up to make it 81-78 with just over 10 seconds to play. Vincent was fouled with 9.3 seconds to play and, once more, he made both free throws to give the Gauchos their final margin, 83-78. 

"We really made some big, clutch plays down the stretch tonight," said head coach Bob Williams. "Mitch (Brewe) and Gabe (Vincent) were huge at the free throw line and both made very big shots. I'm so happy that Mitch was able to come home and have a great game in front of his friends and family." 

Brewe finished with 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Vincent, who got into foul trouble in the first half, finished with 14 points. Bryson led the team with 17 points and DaJuan Smith tied his career-high with 11 points. Maxwell Kupchak, starting in place of injured John Green had nine points while point guard Eric Childress had seven points, seven rebounds and a game-high seven assists. 

"We got such great contributions from so many players tonight," Williams said. "I had to acknowledge a couple of players in the locker room and one of them was Eric. He was really good tonight, controlling things on our end, and that was exactly what we needed to beat a team as good as Washington." 

Crisp and Dime finished with 17 points apiece to lead the Huskies, who made just 6-of-27 three-point attempts. The Gauchos made 45.5% of their shots overall and 36.8% from three-point range. They also hit 16-of-18 free throw attempts, 88.9%, and outrebounded Washington, 44-38.

UCSB will remain in the Emerald City and play at Seattle University at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday. The Gauchos will return home Saturday, Jan. 2 to host Point Loma in a 4:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.