UC Santa Barbara pounded Hawaii inside and out to run away with a 75-54 road victory tonight.
Gauchos big man Amadou Sow racked up a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double on 9-for-15 shooting. Guard Max Heidegger enjoyed a resurgent performance during a season of struggles, pouring in 20 points on 5-for-9 shooting.
UH (13-8, 4-3 Big West) closed out its four-game homestand with a 2-2 record, while UCSB (16-5, 5-2 Big West) moved into a tie for second in the league standings in front of a crowd of 4,653.
The Rainbow Warriors were within four points at halftime, but the bottom fell out early in second half, as a 16-0 run effectively knocked out the Rainbows in their most lopsided loss of the season, surpassing a 19-point setback at UCLA in nonconference play.
Forward Samuta Avea led UH off the bench with 13 points and six rebounds. Zigmars Raimo added 10. No other ’Bow scored more than six as the hosts shot 37.7 percent, including 5-for-22 (22.7 percent) on 3s.
Avea’s three-point play brought UH to within 30-26 at halftime.
The Gauchos scored the first two baskets of the second half to open up an eight-point lead. Raimo scored inside twice in a row to get UH back to within 34-30.
UCSB, which was coming off an overtime loss at home to league leader UC Irvine on Thursday night, pushed back — hard. Jay Nagle’s line-drive 3 made it a double-digit game for the first time with 13 minutes to play.
The lead grew to 21 points before Drew Buggs curled in a layup. Jack Purchase followed with a 3, but Heidegger answered with one of his own.
Heidegger’s onslaught continued. He sank a step-back 3, then was fouled on a 3 just before the shot clock expired on UCSB’s next possession. He sank all three from the line for a 67-43 lead with 4:35 left, sealing the outcome.
UCSB won the rebounding battle by nine.