SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara used a 15-0 run midway through the first half to blow open a tie game and then cruised to a 71-55 win at rival Cal Poly on Saturday night.
The Gauchos (21-8 overall, 12-4 in the Big West) secured the No. 2 seed in next week's Big West Tournament at Honda Center in Anaheim and will play a noon game on Thursday, Mar. 13. The opponent will once again be the Mustangs (10-19, 6-10).
The game was tied at 18 when UCSB went on a 15-0 run that was sparked by a pair of three-point baskets from Kyle Boswell and capped by a lay-up and a free throw by Michael Bryson to make the score 33-18 with 2:17 to play in the first half.
The Gauchos extended the advantage to 18 before settling for a 38-23 lead at the half.
"We had a great response in the first half," said head coach Bob Williams. "We were up nine, they tied it and we really took control at that point. I thought we shot the ball very well in that stretch, and really all night, and defended the interior very well."
There was no letup in the second half. Bryson started the half the same way he started the game, with a three-pointer, extending the lead to 41-23. The game got no closer than 15 the rest of the way.
Alan Williams led the offensive and defensive assault for UCSB, finishing with a game-high 23 points and five blocked shots. He also had a game-high 10 rebounds. Boswell drained 4-of-6 three-point baskets and finished with 15 points. He now has 216 in his career and needs just one to move into a tie for second in school history. Bryson added 13 points.
"Our leaders really stepped-up tonight," Williams said. "Alan, Kyle, Michael and Z (Zalmico Harmon) were all outstanding."
Harmon had a game-high seven assists and just one turnover.
As a team, the Gauchos made 55.6% from the field overall, including 9-of-16 from three-point range, 56.3%. Conversely, the Mustangs made 8-of-17 from three-point range, 47.1%, but just 9-of-40 from inside the arc, 22.5%. Overall, they made 29.8%.
Overall, UCSB blocked nine shots, with Sam Beeler adding a pair, one of which was an attempted slam dunk by David Nwaba.
"Sam did a good job challenging shots," Williams said. "He was a big part of what we did defensively tonight."
Thursday's UCSB-Cal Poly game will be aired live at noon on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. It can also be listened to on AM 1290 KZSB and online by UCSBgauchos.com with the pregame show with Gerry Fall and Don Ford beginning at 11:30 a.m.