OTTAWA, Ontario - When its bus driver got lost going from the hotel to Carleton University for an exhibition game on Thursday night, the UC Santa Barbara basketball team should have gotten the message.
The adventure of the wayward driver was soon followed by a slow start in the Gauchos 71-61 loss to Carleton, the defending Canadian National Champion. The game was played in front of a frenzied and sold out crowd at the Ravens Nest on the Ottawa, Ontario campus.
"This was a great environment for us to play in," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "I think that our young guys will really benefit from the crowd, the noise and the quality of the opponent."
After Orlando Johnson scored the first basket of the game on a jumper from near the free throw line, the Ravens ran off 11 straight points to take an 11-2 lead. Phillip Scrubb, who finished with a game-high 32 points, made a pair of three-pointers during the early run.
Carleton continued to roll and led 21-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was a different story. Led by Johnson, who finished with a team-high 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting, the Gauchos outscored Carleton 21-9 to pull within 30-28 at halftime.
UCSB briefly took the lead just over three minutes into the second half with a 7-2 run to start. The game remained close for much of the third quarter. The Gauchos still led by one, 43-42, with 2:15 left, but the Ravens used a 7-1 run to close out the third with a 49-44 lead.
The lead see-sawed between five and seven for the first 2:11 of the final quarter. Carleton put together a 10-3 stretch to claim a decisive 63-51 advantage with 5:21 to play. UCSB pulled within five, 65-60, with 1:56 remaining, but could get no closer.
"Tonight was just a case of bad shooting," Williams said. "Except for O.J. and Jaimé, we just couldn't get anything going."
Serna, who made 4-of-6 shots and had 13 points, and Johnson combined to make 14-of-23 field goal attempts. The rest of the team made just 7-of-33 shots from the floor, 21.2%. Overall, the Gauchos made just 37.5% from the field.
Serna also finished with a team-high six rebounds for the Gauchos. Freshman Alan Williams had five rebounds and three points in just eight minutes.
"Even though we lost, I think we will benefit greatly from this game," Williams said. "The setting and quality of opponent make this an invaluable experience for our team."
Carleton, which finished their Cross-Border Basketball Series with a four-game winning streak, was led by Scrubb who made 11-of-18 shots overall and 6-for-11 from three-point range for 32 points. Tyson Hinz scored 17 and Willy Manigat added 11. As a team, the Ravens made 10 three-point baskets.
UCSB's tour of eastern Canada continues on Friday night when it remains in Ottawa to play the University of Ottawa at 5:00 p.m. (PDT). Following the second game in Ottawa, the Gauchos will travel to Montreal where they will play Concordia University on Sunday at 9:00 a.m. (PDT).
Season tickets for UCSB basketball are now available. The schedule includes exciting home games against UNLV and San Diego State, as well as Big West games against rivals Long Beach State and Cal Poly. For information, call 805-893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, or click here.