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UC Santa Barbara Bullies Cold-Shooting Florida Gulf Coast

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The Gauchos controlled play from the opening tip, racing past visiting Florida Gulf Coast to earn an upset win and improve to 5-1 this season at home.

Godofredo Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

UC Santa Barbara beat visiting Florida Gulf Coast 63-50 after cashing in on several early defensive opportunities Monday in the Thunderdome.

The Gauchos scored 11 points off 10 forced turnovers and then limited the Eagles to 29 percent shooting in the first half. UCSB converted plenty of FGCU's missed shots into uncontested layups and jumpers on offense.

The upset win improved UCSB's record to 7-7 overall and 5-1 at home. The game wrapped up nonconference action for both programs.

FGCU has lost four of its last five games, with its most recent win against Ave Maria (NAIA) last Friday.

UCSB's Alan Williams, a recent Naismith Trophy watch lister, bodied his way to a double-double worth 22 points and 13 rebounds.

Bernard Thompson led FGCU with 16 points and seven rebounds, despite being held scoreless in the first half.

UCSB opened play with an 8-2 run and held the Eagles without a made basket until FGCU's Brett Comer nailed a 3-pointer with 13:38 left in the first half.

FGCU (10-6, 1-4 away) cut UCSB's early lead to 22-15, but a pair of Gabe Vincent layups late helped the Gauchos carry a 30-19 edge into halftime.

The Gauchos continued its dominance in the second half, opening with a 10-2 run. The run saw UCSB sink a pair of foul shots after FGCU's Brian Greene Jr. committed a flagrant-1 foul (elbow) on offense.

UCSB captured its largest lead, a 51-32 advantage, midway through the second half.

TIP-INS

Monday's game completed an in-season home-and-home series between UCSB and FGCU. The Eagles took Game 1 of the series with an 81-75 overtime win Nov. 17 at FGCU.

UCSB's Williams, who averages a double-double, scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the first half. He reached his double-double by scoring the Gauchos' second basket of the second half.

FGCU's Comer didn't see much action in the second half, as an unknown injury kept him from finishing the game.

While the Big West televised Monday's tilt, ESPN3 will air FGCU's 14 remaining games this season.

UP NEXT

FGCU begins Atlantic Sun action by hosting Stetson on Saturday, while UCSB opens Big West play when it visits Cal Poly the same night.