Jan. 22, 2011
FULLERTON, Calif. - In a game marked by big point swings, it was Cal State Fullerton that took advantage of the final one to post a 63-58 win over UC Santa Barbara on Saturday night.
After UCSB (10-7 overall, 3-3 in the Big West) used a 23-3 run to overcome a 36-22 Fullerton (8-12, 4-4) lead and claim a 45-39 edge, the Titans ended the game on a 24-13 surge for the win.
The Gauchos scored the first two points of the second half on a jump-hook by Jaimé Serna, but Fullerton used a three-pointer, a short jumper and two free throws by Devon Peltier and a lay-up and pair of free throws by Andre Hardy to take its biggest lead of the game, 36-22 with 16:31 to play.
UCSB's 23-3 rally was completed when Orlando Johnson passed to James Nunnally for a spectacular alley-oop dunk. It was Johnson returning the favor. Earlier in the surge, he took a pass from Nunnally and threw down a dunk of his own. Nunnally had seven points during the run while Johnson had six.
The Titans scored eight in a row to reclaim the lead, 47-45. Orane Chin, who finished with a team-high 18 points, scored the final two on a slashing lay-up. Nunnally responded with a three-pointer to give the Gauchos another lead, but it was short-lived as Andre Hardy short jumper made it 49-48 Fullerton.
A pair of Greg Somogyi free throws gave UCSB its final lead, 50-49, with 4:19 left in the game. A three-pointer from the top of the key by Perry Webster capped a 9-0 Titan run that put them in front 58-50 with 35 seconds left and essentially sealed the game.
UCSB committed 21 turnovers in the game and shot 18 fewer free throws that Fullerton. The Titans made 24-of-31 from the line while the Gauchos were just 10-of-13.
"Turnovers and free throws killed us," said head coach Bob Williams. "When it turned into a grind-it-out kind of game, we just weren't tough enough. We settled for a lot of jump shots and you should never have 21 turnovers in a grind-it-out kind of game like this."
Chin scored 13 of his points in the first half and the Titans used a 16-5 run over the final 7:56 to overcome a 15-9 UCSB lead and take a 25-20 lead at the half. The Gauchos struggled with Fullerton's zone defense in the first half making 6-of-23 field goals, 26.1%.
"We obviously didn't shoot the ball well in the first half," Williams said. "I thought we were better in the second half (14-of-28, 50.0%), but we really put ourselves in a hole."
Nunnally had 19 points to lead the Gauchos while Johnson had 17 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. Serna, who returned after missing six games with a strained groin, had seven points in 16 minutes. Somogyi equaled his season-high with five blocked shots.
Devon Peltier had 14 points and Hardy added 12 and eight rebounds to go along with Chin's 18.
UCSB returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 27 when it travels to Cal Poly for a 7:00 p.m. game. The Blue-Green Rivalry Series contest will be televised live on the Central and South Coast by KSBY channel 6. The Gauchos return to the Thunderdome on Saturday, Jan. 29 to host Cal State Northridge with tip-off slated for 7:00 p.m. To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or buy online and print at home by clicking here.