Alex Hart's game-winning tip-in with two seconds left lifted UC Santa Barbara to a 56-54 upset win over Hawai'i Thursday night at the Thunderdome. The Rainbow Warriors were looking to keep up in the Big West race but instead were turned back by a hungry Gaucho squad (4-20, 2-10 BWC) that snapped an eight-game skid with just their second conference win of the year.
The 'Bows (12-13, 6-6 Big West) dropped to fifth in the league with their second straight setback. UH lost despite the best efforts of junior forward Gibson Johnson who recorded his first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Hawai'i also saw the return of freshman guard Leland Green who played for the first time in four games. Green finished with seven points and came up with a number of big plays down the stretch, including a game-tying three-pointer in the final minutes.
UH won the first meeting in Honolulu by a comfortable 22-point margin on the strength of a career-high 34 points from Noah Allen. Allen was held to just six points this time around and Hawai'i shot just 36 percent from the floor, including 6-of-25 (24 percent) on three-pointers. UH also committed 16 turnovers, which the Gauchos parlayed into 24 points.
The 'Bows trailed 32-26 at halftime and were down by nine points with less than eight minutes left in the game. But the Rainbow Warriors fought back and when Green nailed a three-pointer with 1:22 left, the game was knotted up 54-54. UH had a chance to take the lead on its next possession but Green missed a jumper.
Johnson seemingly came down with an offensive rebound but a jump ball was called and UCSB earned possession.
That set the stage for the game-winning play as Hart banked in the game-winning tip off a missed Clifton Powell three-pointer in the waning seconds. UH regained the ball with two seconds left but could not get a shot off.
UH next heads up the coast to face Cal Poly on Saturday, Feb. 18. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. HT.
Hawaii Athletics Release
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