SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The University of Hawai'i picked up a huge bounce-back win, defeating UC Santa Barbara, 78-73, in a Big West contest Saturday afternoon at the Thunderdome. Junior Christian Standhardinger fueled the Rainbow Warriors with a monster game, finishing with a career-high 31 points and 16 rebounds.
With the win UH (11-9, 5-4 Big West) snapped a two-game losing streak, while picking up its first road win in five tries this year. It also snapped a seven-game road losing streak dating back to last year.
Two days after suffering its worst loss of the year—a 29-point thumping at Cal Poly —the Rainbow Warriors gave one of its most energetic efforts of the year. Standhardinger was the point main in the effort, notching his seventh double-double of the season. UH also got a double-double from Vander Joaquim (17 points, 11 rebounds) as the 'Bows used its superior size and strength to take advantage of a Gaucho squad (7-12, 3-5 Big West) missing its best player in power forward Alan Williams (17.4 ppg, 9.9 rpg).
Joaquim's effort came after finishing with a season low two points and one rebound in UH's blowout loss at Cal Poly. Meanwhile Hauns Brereton earned the starting nod for UH and responded with 16 points and seven rebounds.
The first half was a tight affair with six times and 10 lead changes and neither team leading by more than four points. UH eventually took a slight 36-34 leading into the locker room.
UH went 9-2 run to start second half to gain some separation and eventually built its lead to as many as 15 points on Standhardinger three-point play to make it 63-48 with 10:25 remaining. It was part of a 27-point second-half explosion by the junior forward who finished 10-of-15 from the floor and 11-of-17 from the line.
UCSB cut the deficit to 70-64 with two minutes remaining but UH would seal the game on the free throw line. UH out-rebounded the Gauchos 45-30 and went to the line 39 times, knocking down 25 of its free throws, in handing UCSB its second straight home loss.
Standhardinger's 31 points were the most by a Rainbow Warriors since Zane Johnson poured in 32 points at UC Davis in Februrary 2011 and helped UH capture its first-ever Big West road win.
The Rainbow Warriors will continue its stretch of four straight road games when it faces UR Riverside on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7:00 p.m. PT (5:00 p.m. HT).