SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Gabe Vincent's go-ahead lay-up with 11 seconds remaining in the game completed a career-night that saw him scored 27 points and make seven threes, lifting UC Santa Barbara to a 76-73 win at rival Cal Poly on Thursday night.
The Gauchos (7-8 overall, 1-1 in the Big West) had a 15-point lead with 7:41 to play, but a spirited rally was complete when Joel Awich made a three-pointer with 1:29 on the clock to give the Mustangs (6-9, 0-2) their first lead since the eight minute mark of the first half.
On the possession immediately following Awich's three, Vincent missed a pair of short jumpers and Cal Poly rebounded, but couldn't capitalize on the other end as Josh Martin fumbled the ball out of bounds after rebounding a missed three-pointer by Reese Morgan.
Following a timeout, UCSB got the ball in the front court to Michael Bryson who drove the middle and dished to a slashing Vincent who drove in from the left side for the go-ahead basket. He was fouled by Zach Gordon on the play but missed the lay-up.
The Mustangs had a chance to take the lead, but David Nwaba missed a lay-up and Sam Beeler collected the rebound and handed the ball to Eric Childress who was fouled with 1.7 seconds left. Childress made both free throws to give the Gauchos their 76-73 lead. A last gasp shot by Reese Morgan fell short and the game was over.
"It's never easy to win here, but we were able to make the plays at the end to escape," said head coach Bob Williams. "Give them credit, they never quit and made it more than interesting at the end."
Vincent scored 17 of his points in the first half, all in the first eight minutes, making five straight three-point baskets.
"I really felt good in the first half," Vincent said. "Sometimes the basket looks huge and at that point I was in a great rhythm. They tightened up their defense on me after that and I had to work for everything else."
Vincent wasn't the only UCSB player to have a career night. Beeler had career-highs with 17 points and 12 rebounds, recording his second double-double of the season. He also added three blocked shots. Childress had seven points, but added career-highs with eight assists and eight rebounds.
"We had some guys step-up in a big way tonight," Williams said. "Sam and Eric really stood out tonight. Eric goes for eight assists and just one turnover and Sam had some really big rebounds, points and blocked shots."
Michael Bryson added 13 points while Mitch Brewe and Maxwell Kupchak each added six for the Gauchos, who shot 45.3% overall and 57.9% (11-of-19) from three-point range. Cal Poly shot 42.4% overall, 25.0% from three-point range and 61.9% from the free throw line.
UCSB, which has now won five of its last six games, will play its first Big West home game on Saturday when it hosts the league's defending champion, UC Irvine, in a 4:00 p.m. contest at the Thunderdome.