February 4, 2010

Johnson Scores 28, Visiting Gauchos Stymie Pacific, 61-48

Feb. 4, 2010

Box Score

STOCKTON, Calif. - Before Thursday night, the last time the University of the Pacific lost a basketball game at the A.G. Spanos Center was on Feb. 22, 2008. The team that defeated them that night? UC Santa Barbara.

On Thursday night, the Gauchos did it again.

A 3-pointer by James Powell with 12:39 left in the first half completed an 11-0 run and gave UCSB a 14-2 lead over the first-place Tigers (14-7 overall, 7-2 in the Big West) and the Gauchos (12-8 overall, 7-3 in the Big West) never looked back, cruising to a 61-48 win in Stockton. The loss ended Pacific's 16-game winning streak on its home court and pulled UCSB within one-half game in the league standings.

Santa Barbara played 40 minutes of stifling defense, holding the Tigers to 29.4% shooting overall, 22.2% from 3-point territory, and forcing 18 turnovers by a team that was averaging just 10 per game coming in.

Oh, and sophomore guard Orlando Johnson scored a career-high 28 points to help lead the Gauchos on the offensive end. Sophomore forward James Nunnally, playing against his older brother Michael - Pacific's starting center - had 19 points.

"Our defense set the tone tonight," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "James (Nunally) got us off to a good start and O.J. (Johnson) made some clutch baskets in the second half, but tonight was about great defense and good shot selection. That was some of the best defense we have played this year."

In their last game, the Gauchos attempted 34 3-point shots, the second most in school history. On Thursday night, they took just 13, making six.

After UCSB took its first nine-point lead at 14-2, Pacific never got closer than eight the rest of the game.

Leading 34-19 in the final seconds of the first half, a missed shot by Michael Nunnally was tipped towards the midcourt line. Demetrece Young scooped-up the loose ball and made a 26-foot 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to draw Pacific within 12, 34-22, at the half.

UCSB was sluggish to open the second half and the Tigers took advantage, scoring on a slam dunk by Michael Nunnally and a lay-up by Terrell Smith. Smith's basket with 17:56 to play, narrowed the gap to 34-26.

Pacific got no closer as Johnson calmly made a 3-pointer and then James Nunnally scored on a lay-up, boosting the Gauchos' lead back to 39-26.

After Allen Huddleston made 1-of-2 free throws following a foul by Jaimé Serna, James Nunnally was fouled by Huddleston while attempting a 3-point shot. He made all three free throws to push the lead to 42-27 with 15:12 left in the game. After a stop on the defensive end, James Nunnally scored on a hanging lay-up in the middle of the key and the Gauchos had their biggest lead of the game, 44-27, with 14:42 remaining.

Pacific got within nine, 51-42, with 3:56 to play, but never closer.

In addition to his 28 points, Johnson had six rebounds and three steals. James Nunnally also had six rebounds, one blocked shots and a steal. Powell finished with six points on two 3-point shots. He now has 200 career 3-point baskets and is the second player in school history to eclipse 200.

Pacific was led by Huddleston who had 10 points. For the second time this season - both Gaucho wins, - the Tigers' leading scorer, Sam Willard, was held to two points. He did have a game-high seven rebounds.

UCSB shot 45.0% in winning for the seventh time in its last nine games. The victory was the Gauchos' third on the road this season, their second in Big West Conference play.

Santa Barbara remains on the road and travels to UC Davis on Saturday, Feb. 6 for a 7:00 p.m. game against the Aggies.

The Gauchos return home on Saturday, Feb. 13 to host Long Beach State in a 4:00 p.m. game that will be televised on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. The game against the 49ers will also be a "Legends of the Dome" game.

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. The first men's basketball legend, Carrick DeHart, was unveiled on Jan. 23 before a win over Cal State 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. 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.

To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or click here.