SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - James Nunnally scored 24 points, Orlando Johnson added 21 and UC Santa Barbara parlayed an 18-0 run midway through the first half to take control of a close game en route to an 89-56 win over visiting Santa Clara on Tuesday night.
Santa Clara (1-1) took a 17-14 lead on a steal and breakaway slam dunk by Niyi Harrison, but that's when the Gauchos (2-0) took control. A pair of free throws by Kyle Boswell and then a free throw line jumper by Johnson gave them an 18-17 lead and they never trailed again. Nunnally added five points and Alan Williams added four during the game-changing run.
"We turned things around on the offensive end, when we went inside and then when we raised our level defensively," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "We really started attacking them on both ends of the court. I thought we showed great energy."
By the time the dust settled, Santa Barbara had a 32-17 lead. By halftime, the Gauchos expanded the lead to 42-24. The Broncos closed within 12 on two occasions in the second half, but could never get closer.
"When the second half started, we reverted a little bit defensively, but we were able to make shots and that helped us hold our ground," Williams said. "Eventually, we started to pick-it-up again defensively and we were able to build our lead.
It was a lead that expanded to as many as 36 points (85-49) and by the end, the 33-point win was the biggest margin of victory for a Williams-led UCSB team and it equaled the largest since Dec. 19, 1992 when the Gauchos thrashed St. Mary's, 79-37.
Santa Barbara dominated the boards, outrebounding Santa Clara 47-31, and that was a statistic that Williams was very pleased with.
"When you look at the numbers and see that kind of advantage on the glass, you've got to be very happy," he said. "Obviously we rebounded real well and most everyone went hard to the glass.
The Broncos were also held to a dismal 32.8% from the field, while UCSB made 29-of-61 shots, 47.5%. Also, for the second straight game, the Gauchos took good care of the ball, committing just 10 turnovers to go with 17 assists. In the season opening win over Chapman, they had just seven turnovers.
Boswell scored a career-high 12 points and Jaimé Serna added 10 to give UCSB four players in double-figures. Sophomore point guard Nate Garth was also solid as he finished with seven points, five assists and five rebounds. Greg Somogyi added five blocked shots.
The Broncos were led by Harrison who had 15 points while Kevin Foster, one of the best guards on the West Coast, had 12 points, but he made just 3-of-13 shots overall and 1-of-8 from three-point range.
The Gauchos remain at home for their next four games with a crosstown matchup against Westmont College on Friday, Nov. 18. The game will tip-off at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.
Tickets for the UCSB-Westmont game, season tickets and the Big West +1 Plan remain available. With the Big West +1, fans can purchase tickets for all eight Gaucho Big West games, plus one for either the Nov. 26 showdown against San Diego State or the Nov. 30 game against rival UNLV. The cost of the plan is just $99. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please stop by the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.
A banner honoring former UCSB head coach Jerry Pimm as a Legend of the 'Dome will be unveiled at halftime of the Gauchos Nov. 30 game against UNLV. Pimm, who built UCSB into a top-25 program, experienced many of his greatest moments in wins over the rival Runnin' Rebels. He will become the fourth men's basketball honoree as he joins three of his greatest Gaucho players - Brian Shaw, Carrick DeHart and Eric McArthur - to earn the honor. Overall, Coach Pimm is the 10th honoree. Former women's basketball great Erin Alexander (Brown) will have her banner unfurled on Feb. 4 against Cal Poly. Tickets for both of the legends games are available by clicking here.