SANTA BARBARA, California — Aaron Valdes scored 18 points and Hawaii shook off UC Santa Barbara 76-64 on Thursday night, rebounding from its first conference loss this season.
Valdes made a layup to start an 8-0 run to build a 10-point lead that put UC Santa Barbara away for good.
The Gauchos upset UC Irvine, previously undefeated in conference, on Saturday and were seeking to make it two upsets in a row. The Rainbow Warriors (17-3, 6-1 Big West) missed the chance to take sole possession of first in the Big West, losing to Long Beach State last Saturday. UC Irvine is 7-1.
Four players reached double figures as balanced Hawaii rebounded — Stefan Jankovic added 16 points, Quincy Smith 15 and Michael Thomas 11.
UC Santa Barbara (9-12, 3-5) closed to 56-54 with 7:46 left, but Valdes answered to start the 8-0 run.
Michael Bryson led the Gauchos with 16 points.