Shawn Lewis grabbed a hand-off from Chris O’Brien, took about two steps to the left and let loose a 3-point shot for the ages.

Shawn Lewis hit a 3-point shot, but with five seconds left on the clock, UCSB's Nunnally banked a layup that gave UCSB a 71-70 win. Ryan Sidarto – Mustang Daily

To this point, the Mustangs were trailing the Gauchos by two points with six seconds left in the latest installment of the Blue-Green Rivalry. And after burnt-brown leather swished its way through white nylon, the Mustangs took a 70-69 lead.

Only thing was, there were still five seconds on the clock.

“I just had enough confidence to try and make the shot,” Lewis said. “I hit the shot and then I really didn’t think about the clock … We needed to play ball.”

In those five seconds, all euphoria turned to cold-hearted disbelief. UCSB’s James Nunnally grabbed a pass, took it down the court, pulled up and banked in a layup as time expired to give UC Santa Barbara (11-7, 4-3 Big West) a 71-70 win.

“I knew there was plenty of time, our team knew that,” forward David Hanson said. “We’ve been there before. It was a great play to win the game.”

The entire game was a back and forth battle. Every UC Santa Barbara run was immediately followed by a Cal Poly run. There were 13 lead changes and the biggest lead of the night was eight points, which the Gauchos took with 12:36 in the first half.

Cal Poly (8-11, 4-4) immediately fought back. Hanson fired a 3-point shot on the Mustangs’ next possession and close to two minutes later, Cal Poly cut that lead to one point.

“The way that they are playing that zone, there are some openings and there are some wide-open threes,” head coach Joe Callero said. “If you get the ball in the high post, and flare it back out, there are some good clean looks.”

The Mustangs exploited those gaps, and then some. They lit up the scoreboard basket after basket, shooting 48 percent from the floor and 61 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

It was a different kind of offensive output than the Mustangs had been putting out in the beginning of the season. It was vastly different than the long-possession game plans the Mustangs put forth through most of nonconference play. This game featured somewhat of the opposite — quick shots and high shooting percentage.

“We’ve always had (scoring) options,” Lewis said. “It’s just the confidence factor. Every person on that team is a good shooter and a threat behind the 3-point line. It’s just confidence.”

The Mustangs certainly felt that confidence in this one. They didn’t let up in the second half.

Guard Chris O’Brien hit a 3-pointer right out of the break and a Maliik Love layup moments later gave the Mustangs a four-point lead. With five minutes left in the game, two free throws by Lewis gave Cal Poly its largest lead of the night, 65-60.

In the game, they sank a season-high 13 3-pointers and connected on half of their attempts from behind the 3-point arc. They shot 42 percent on the night and two players, Lewis and Hanson, scored 20 points.

“We try to score as many points as we can, and we put up 70-plus points, which we haven’t done in a while,” Hanson said. “I think it was great tonight see guys step up and make plays. It’s definitely an improvement for our team.”

That improvement, however, fell five seconds short of a victory.

” UCSB is a very good team,” Hanson said. “We were prepared coming in and we were able to keep it close for about 39 minutes and 55 seconds. Hats off to them.”

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