Saturday, Feb. 9 the University of California, Santa Barbara Men’s basketball team played the University of Pacific. The Gauchos destroyed the Tigers 66-53 and snapped their five game losing streak in dramatic fashion. The Gauchos are now 8-15 overall and 4-8 in the Big West Conference.
The surging Gauchos were led by, freshmen Michael Bryson and Taran Brown; each racking up thirteen points to pave the way towards the victory. However the Gaucho of the night came in the form of trigger assist man and sophomore Guard, T.J. Taylor. Taylor ran the show from the get go and orchestrated the offense with commanding poise. Taylor scored 11 points and notched up 8 assists which was nearly the amount of the entire University of Pacific team (10).
The only downside of the game was that “Big Al” Williams went down again and early in the game Saturday night. Williams began the night in a flurry of dominance by scoring 10 points in just eight minutes. However, Williams went down hard on a play and spent the rest of the night on the bench with his ankle wrapped heavily in ice. Luckily the injury isn’t supposed to be serious and he’s expected to be ready to play for the Gauchos in their next game against rival California Polytechnic State University.
The Gauchos came ready to play that evening and it showed in their focus on the court. They started the game on a 12-0 run and shot 50 percent from the field overall. Perhaps the most impressive part of the victory was the defensive prowess showcased by the entire team.
Taylor said, “We needed to turn this ship around and with Al going down or Al not going down, we were going to get that win no matter what tonight. So we had to stick together, stay strong, compete and we did.”
When asked about his eight assists Taylor said, “I was just playing controlled and just running the offense, doing what coach needed me to do. Just finding open teammates you know. When we knock down shots it’s easy for me to get assists. I’m not out there working too hard to get assists. We’re a pretty good shooting team, so you know when we get it going I just find the guys in the right positions and they knock them down.”
UCSB Junior Matt Lozano and psychology major said, “That was a big win because it ended the five game losing streak. We looked a lot better tonight. T.J. Taylor stepped up big time even with Big Al Williams going down. T.J. hit some big shots. We got off to an extremely strong start and it carried us through to the end. So hopefully this can spark a winning streak and we can get another win in our next game against Cal Poly.”
The night also consisted of a special honoring of former Gaucho great Lucius Davis. Davis is the newest member of ‘Legend of the ‘Dome’ and was instantly greeted by the crowd with roaring chants of “Lou!” A banner was hung in the raptors of the Thunder dome in his name.
The Gauchos next game will be at Cal Poly on Saturday Feb. 16.