UC Santa Barbara hit Hawaii with an early flurry of 3-pointers and maintained a solid lead the rest of the way as the Gauchos prevailed 86-77 on Thursday night at the Thunderdome in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Fourth-place UH (19-10, 8-7 Big West) was denied its 20th victory for the second straight road game as second-place UCSB (20-8, 11-4) made six of its first seven attempts from long range and finished at a scorching 10-for-16 (63 percent) from deep.
UCSB became the second team to sweep UH home-and-home this season, along with Long Beach State. The Rainbow Warriors dropped to 1-5 against the teams above them in the standings and — in combination with Cal State Fullerton’s loss at home to UC Irvine — are guaranteed the No. 4 seed in next week’s Big West tournament.
In a wild sequence in the first half, a UCSB fan rushed the court after UH guard Brandon Spearman and coach Gib Arnold were assessed technical fouls. The fan ran up to Arnold in a confrontational manner but was pushed away by UH players, and the fan backpedaled away off the court before the incident escalated further.
The Rainbow Warriors, who host Cal State Fullerton at the Stan Sheriff Center for senior night, trailed by 12 at halftime. A late push got UCSB’s 19-point lead down to eight with 1:31 to play on a basket by center Davis Rozitis, then seven at 82-75 on a 3 by Aaron Valdes with 20 seconds left. UCSB held off UH at the line from there.
Senior forward Christian Standhardinger, who had 31 points and 16 rebounds in UH’s five-point win at UCSB last season, finished with a team-high 18 points and seven rebounds. Point guard Keith Shamburger added 16, Rozitis 11 and Valdes 10 in the loss. Backup point guard Quincy Smith contributed six points, eight assists and no turnovers.
But three of UH’s five starters, Garrett Nevels, Spearman and Isaac Fotu, combined to shoot 4-for-23, negating a strong bench effort.
Five Gauchos scored in double figures in the hosts’ senior night win, led by junior big man Alan Williams’ 18 points and 11 rebounds.