In an unbelievable finish, UC Santa Barbara came back to defeat the Hawaii basketball team 75-74 at the Thunderdome in Santa Barbara, Calif., on Saturday night.
The Gauchos rallied from 13 points down to take a three-point lead in the final minute. But UH guard Isaac Fleming’s desperation corner 3-point attempt over three UCSB defenders tied the game up with a second left — until replays showed Fleming’s right foot toed the 3-point arc and it should have been a 2-point basket.
But first, the remaining 1.1 seconds of game clock was played out with the game tied at 75. UCSB’s three-quarter-court heave was off the mark. At that point, officials went to replay monitors and took a point off the board for UH.
Even after the score was changed, UH did not get a chance to replay the final 1.1 seconds to go for a steal or foul and extend the game. The game was called over.
Gauchos fans went crazy as they were awarded the victory.
UH (16-9, 4-5 Big West) wrapped up its two-week road trip with a respectable 2-2 record, but was on the cusp of going 3-1 as it led Saturday’s game from nearly start to finish.
Ultimately, the Rainbow Warriors continued their 2015 trend of alternating wins and losses every conference game.
Guard Garrett Nevels led UH with 16 points, while forward Aaron Valdes added 13 points and four steals and forward Mike Thomas scored 11. Point guard Roderick Bobbitt had seven assists and six steals.
The Gauchos (11-11, 4-4) committed 21 turnovers against UH’s pressure defense, but shot 52.8 percent from the field, including 9-for-18 on 3-pointers. Guard Michael Bryson led the comeback effort with 21 points.
Led by the 12 combined swipes from Bobbitt and Valdes, UH had 15 total steals. The Rainbow Warriors built a four-point halftime lead up to 13 midway through the second half.
Three-point plays by Fleming and Stefan Jovanovic kept the Rainbows ahead by double digits.
Bryson completed an and-1 basket on an inbounds play to cut it to 56-48 with under 12 minutes left.
Nevels scored a three-point play to boost the UH lead back to 65-52 with below nine minutes to go.
UCSB scored the next six points, but Valdes responded with a basket inside followed by an alley-oop jam in traffic on a lob from Bobbitt.
UCSB hit a corner 3 and followed with another deep triple from Zalmico Harmon to slice the lead to 70-66 with 3:59 to play.
UH called timeout but turned it over and the Gauchos cut it to three on a free throw.
UCSB tied it up at 70 on a 3 by John Green, then Bryson struck from the deep corner for a 73-70 Gauchos advantage.
Mike Thomas ended the run with two free throws with 1:08 to play.
But guard Gabe Vincent banked in an off-balance, straightaway 16-foot shot at the end of the shot clock for a 75-72 lead.
Nevels hit a deep 3, but UH had called timeout with 14.8 seconds left and the shot didn’t count. Nevels attempted another one from deep range, but it hit off the backboard. UH got the offensive rebound and Fleming hit from the corner — but he was too close by a matter of inches.
UCSB was without reigning Big West Player of the Year Alan Williams, the top rebounder in the Big West. He missed his fifth straight game with a shoulder injury.
Bobbitt’s six steals raised him to 81 on the season. He is now second only to Tom Henderson’s 84 from the early 1970s on the UH single-steals list.