With one of the nation’s best big men in Alan Williams leading the way, UCSB entered the season with expectations of not only contending in the Big West but also earning their first NCAA tournament bid since 2011. While both goals remain on the table for Bob Williams’ team, things got tougher this week as Alan Williams suffered a left shoulder injury in practice on Tuesday.
According to the school Williams, who got tangled up with freshman Alex Hart late in Tuesday’s practice, will miss at least two weeks of action. And Williams wasn’t the only player to suffer an injury this week either, as junior DaJuan Smith injured his hip in a bike accident and is out indefinitely.
Alan Williams was averaging 17.9 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game at the time of his injury. Thursday night the Gauchos moved to 2-2 in Big West play with an 83-75 win over UC Riverside, shooting 51.7% from the field with John Green scoring a team-high 21 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
Without Williams the Gauchos started four guards with Sam Beeler in the post, and both Hart and Mitch Brewe served as reserves in the front court. Brewe played well against the Highlanders, finishing with 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes of action. Brewe, who’s averaging 3.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game, becomes an even more important player for UCSB with Williams out of the lineup.
In UCSB’s five games prior to Thursday, Brewe accounted for a total of ten points and nine rebounds.