The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team led the entire way but couldn’t stop an incredible comeback in a 75-74 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Saturday night at The Thunderdome.
UCSB used a 13-0 run and a barrage of three-point baskets in the final five minutes of the game to erase a 10-point Hawai’i lead. Isaac Fleming’s corner three appeared to tie the game as time expired but, after the officials went to the monitor, the basket was ruled a two-pointer and UCSB escaped with the one-point win.
Garrett Nevels had 16 points for the ‘Bows (16-9, 4-5 Big West) with Aaron Nevels adding 13 points on a tough 4-16 shooting night.
Michael Bryson, whose three-pointer gave UCSB (11-11, 4-4 Big West) a 73-70 lead, led all scorers with 21 points.
In what has become a recurring them, the ‘Bows jumped on their opponent early. Nevels scored a pair of buckets including a three-pointer to give UH a 9-2 lead. UH led by as many as 11 points before a late first-half Gaucho run cut the lead to 33-28. Hawai’i would go into halftime up 37-33.
The ‘Bows regained control of the game in the second half, going on a 7-0 run highlighted by a Negus Webster-Chan three pointer to take a 46-35 lead. Nevels’ and-one basket later put the ‘Bows up 65-52 with 8:35 to play, their largest lead of the game.
Hawai’i returns home and will play its first games at the Stan Sheriff Center in nearly three weeks. UH faces UC Riverside on Thursday then takes on Cal State Fullerton in a Valentine’s Day matchup on Saturday.