LONG BEACH, Calif. - Michael Bryson was fouled while shooting a three-pointer with one second left in regulation and made all three of the free throws to tie the score at 70 and send the game to overtime, but UC Santa Barbara was outscored 10-0 in the extra period as Long Beach State recorded an 80-70 win on Thursday night.
Bryson finished with a team-high 25 points for the Gauchos (8-11, 2-4) while Long Beach (10-12, 4-3) was led by Nick Faust who finished with a game-high 34.
"That's a tough one to lose," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "To fight back the way we did in the first half, take the big lead and then the free throws at the end, it all adds up to a very tough loss."
UCSB fell behind early and when Faust made a pair of free throws with 10:18 left in the first half it was 25-14 49ers, but from that point the Gauchos outscored the 49ers 26-6, including 20-2 over the final 5:29 to take a 40-31 halftime lead. The 26-6 stretch was highlighted by three three-point baskets from John Green, a pair of slam dunks by Bryson, a highlight reel crossover and lay-up by Eric Childress, and three free throws with one second on the clock by Maxwell Kupchak.
"We were really good in that stretch," Williams said. "I think we started getting some confidence and I liked the way we battled back."
Santa Barbara pushed the lead to 15 points early in the second half before Long Beach used a fullcourt trap to force several turnovers and get back in game.The Gauchos finished with 24 turnovers.
The 49ers reclaimed the lead on a pair of free throws by Faust with 8:43 on the clock and then had it up to six, 63-57, before UCSB scratched back, ultimately cutting the deficit to 68-67 with 10 seconds left. Justin Bibbins was intentionally fouled and made both free throws to make it 70-67 and setting the stage for Bryson to tie the game after being fouled by Faust.
"I was really focussed on the free throws," Bryson said. "I am pretty good at blocking the noise and stuff out."
The Gauchos couldn't muster any offesne in the overtime period. With Gabe Vincent having fouled out in regulation and Childress forced to leave the game with cramps at the very outset of the extra period, they had five turnovers and went 0-for-5 from the field.
"There's no excuse for having 24 turnovers in a game," Williams said. "They pressured us, but we had some self-inflicted mistakes too."
The 49ers were just 1-of-5 from the field in overtime, but hit 8-of-10 free throws, including 6-for-6 from Bibbins.
Childress finished with a career-high 13 points. Green added 16, the most since he returned after missing nearly seven full games with a knee injury.Beeler added eight points and nine rebounds. As a team, the Gauchos shot 44.1% overall while limiting Long Beach to 39.3%.
UCSB will travel to UC Irvine on Saturday night for a 7:00 p.m. game that will be televised on ESPNU.