No matter how hard it tried, the UC Davis men’s basketball team couldn’t find a way to keep Alan Williams off the boards and away from the rim.
Williams, UC Santa Barbara’s 6-foot 7-inch human locomotive, proved to be the difference on Saturday night. He totaled 28 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks to push the Gauchos to a 66-59 victory over the Aggies at The Pavilion.
Corey Hawkins scored 23 points and Ryan Sypkens added 11 for UCD (5-10, 1-3 in Big West Conference play), but the two sharpshooters came up short down the stretch. With his team down 62-59 with under a minute left, Hawkins corralled a loose ball and weaved his way through the Gaucho defense and all the way to the basket. But Hawkins, who hit a game-winning buzzer-beater against Cal Poly on Thursday, had his shot attempt deflected by Williams.
When UCD’s Ryan Howley came up with the ball and head coach Jim Les called a timeout to set up another attempt at a game-tying shot, the Aggies misfired again. This time it was Sypkens from beyond the 3-point line. UCSB (6-10, 2-3) got the ball back and connected on four straight free throws to seal the game.
Hawkins and Sypkens wouldn’t have needed to come up big in the final minute, however, if UCD had been able to slow Williams, who accounted for the majority of UCSB’s 28 points in the paint and 13 second-chance points.
The Gaucho standout had the luxury of not having to go against Aggie center J.T. Adenrele for much of the night, as Adenrele was called for several fouls in the early going and ended up playing only 12 minutes, recording four points and two rebounds.
“J.T. getting into foul trouble hurt us a bit because it really stifled his aggressiveness,” Les said. “We just gave (Williams) some touches a little bit too low, and he’s really talented and we knew he was going to get his.
Les went on to say that he was disappointed in the way UCD started the game. The locals fell behind early and trailed 33-23 at halftime, before tightening things up in the second half. Josh Ritchart (12 points) and Hawkins both hit 3-pointers in the last two minutes to set up the final shot attempts.
Les opted to deny media access to the players after the game.
Notes: T.J. Taylor was the only other Gaucho in double figures. He had 10 points. … Howley led the Aggies in rebounding with 10 boards. … The Aggies connected on just 36.7 percent of their shot attempts. UCSB was only slightly better, hitting 41.1 percent from the floor.