Michael Bryson is trying to help UC Santa Barbara win the Big West Conference title and reach the NCAA Tournament.
So the former Foothill High School star had no problem ruining Saturday night for UC Davis and its fans, who packed the Pavilion for a nationally televised game.
The 6-foot-4 sophomore guard scored 19 points to lead the Gauchos to a 67-54 win in front of an announced near-sellout crowd of 5,227 and an ESPN2 audience.
But even Bryson admitted to being a little wide-eyed at the atmosphere.
Davis brought a great fan base tonight, Bryson said. This is as close as I get to home. So I was able to have a lot of family, friends and crowd support out here.
The former Bee All-Metro first-team standout said his mother, Audra, spent most of the week getting tickets for family and friends.
While Bryson led UC Santa Barbara in scoring, Gauchos coach Bob Williams said the players biggest contribution was grabbing seven rebounds. That helped UCSB (19-8, 10-4) to a 43-20 advantage on the boards.
He played well tonight, Williams said of Bryson, UC Santa Barbaras No. 2 scorer and No. 3 rebounder. I really like to see him attack the rim because hes such a dynamic player.
Alan Williams, the Gauchos 6-7, 275-pound inside force, spent most of the game in foul trouble. The leader in Big West scoring and NCAA rebounding had eight points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes.
The Aggies (9-20, 4-10) couldnt get untracked, falling behind 9-0 and never leading. They shot 38.6 percent from the field, 21.1 percent from three-point range and 59.3 percent from the foul line.
Corey Hawkins had 16 points but was the only Aggie in double figures.
UC Davis shooting was a far cry from what it was in Thursdays 85-73 home win over Cal Poly, which included a sizzling 13 of 24 from three-point range.
We didnt shoot it well, UC Davis coach Jim Les said. I wish we (had) saved a few from the other night.
Especially considering the festive atmosphere in the Aggies home finale.
Students, some with their bodies painted blue and gold, poured into the Pavilion when the doors opened 90 minutes before the game. Many had been tailgating in the parking lot.
Fans danced, waved blue-and-gold streamers, held up signs, and chanted and sang loudly as they tried to draw the attention of television cameras.
There was a buzz on campus all week, said Ryan Dimino, a junior linebacker for the UC Davis football team. It was neat to see the students tailgating in the parking lot and getting hyped up and super rowdy. Its great that our school is getting exposure on national television.
Ryan Sypkens (Franklin High School), the Aggies lone senior, was honored before tipoff, then made three three-pointers for a career total of 310. Hes two threes from breaking the all-time Big West record.
I really felt the support from the community before and during the game, Sypkens, who scored nine points, said after receiving an ovation from the crowd once he left the court in the final minute. I cannot thank them enough.
The game also marked the annual return of Williams, UC Davis former coach now in his 16th season at UCSB.
Call The Bees Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.