Jan. 16, 2010
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - James Nunnally scored 16 of his team-high 20 points in the second half as UC Santa Barbara withstood UC Riverside's second half rally and won for the fourth time in five games, 63-56. The loss was Riverside's fourth in a row.
Nunnally scored just four points in the first half and was on the bench to open the second half. The sophomore scored his 16 second half points after entering the game with 14:26 to play. His performance helped the Gauchos (9-7 overall, 4-2 in the Big West) overcome a game-high 25-point performance by the Highlanders' (7-10 overall, 1-4 in the Big West) Kyle Austin.
"Nun responded," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams when asked about Nunnally's second half performance after not starting. "That was good to see. He responded exactly how he should have."
Riverside led 13-9 midway through the first half, but led by Will Brew, the Gauchos rallied to take a 32-23 halftime lead. Brew scored all 11 of his points in the first half, including nine - on a trio of three-point baskets - in the final 2:55.
"Will really sparked us late in the first half," Williams said. "Sometimes, when he gets a feeling, he can really get on a roll from outside."
Riverside rallied in the second half. Trailing 36-28, the Highlanders scored nine in a row to take a 37-36 lead with 14:48 left in the game. After a short jumper by Nunnally gave the lead back to UCSB, Austin made a basket to give his team the lead back, 39-38, with 13:36 to play.
The Gauchos responded with a 9-0 surge of their own. Nunnally was fouled and made a pair of free throws to start the run. Orlando Johnson then scored on a back-door lay-up off of a perfect pass from Jordan Weiner to give UCSB a 42-39 advantage with 12:43 remaining. A three-pointer by Nunnally and a pair of free throws by Johnson boosted the lead to 47-39 with 10:36 to play.
The Highlanders were able to pull within five four times down the stretch - the last on a three-pointer by Austin with seven seconds to play - but could get no closer. A lay-up by Weiner as time ran out gave the Gauchos their final margin of victory.
Johnson joined Nunnally and Brew in double-figures with 16 points for UCSB. Brew led the way with four assists. Nunnally and Jaimé Serna each had a team-high seven rebounds. Riverside had just one other player in double-figures, Lateef McMullan, who scored 10. Larry Gurganious, the Highlander second leading scorer, was held without a basket and had just two points.
UCSB returns home on Saturday, Jan. 23 to host Cal State Fullerton in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome. Before the game, a men's basketball "Legend of the Dome" will be unveiled in a pregame ceremony.
For years, the Gauchos have been exciting crowds in the Thunderdome. Through the years, legends were made in the 'Dome. Now, five former UCSB standouts are being saluted as "Legends of the Dome." The first legendary women's volleyball star, Roberta Gehlke, was unveiled Oct. 19, 2009. In addition to the "Legend" unveiled before Saturday's game against Fullerton, three other legends will be introduced this year. The second men's hoops legend will be unveiled prior to UCSB's 4:00 p.m. Feb. 13 game against Long Beach State, a game which will be televised on Prime Ticket. Women's basketball legends will be honored on Feb. 11 before a 7:00 p.m. game against UC Riverside, and on Feb. 27 before a 2:00 p.m. Blue-Green Rivalry Series game against Cal Poly.
A special "Legends Pack" of tickets has been introduced so that fans can be on hand for all four "Legends of the Dome" games. For more information and to purchase "Legends Packs" or tickets to all Gaucho games, click here.