Feb. 21, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Chris Devine scored 20 points, including seven in overtime, and James Nunnally added 14, including a tip-in that tied the score with 26 seconds to play in regulation, as UC Santa Barbara overcame an 11-point first half deficit to record a 78-71 non-conference win over visiting Montana State on Saturday night. The win was the fourth in a row for the Gauchos.
UCSB trailed for most of the game, but when a slashing Devine took a perfect feed from Nunnally and made a lay-up with 4:08 to go in regulation, the score was tied. Devine was fouled on the play and made the free throw to give the Gauchos their first lead of the game, 60-59. A pair of free throws by Nunnally on the next possession made it 62-59 with 2:54 left in the game.
The Bobcats didn't quit, scoring the next seven consecutive points. Branden Johnson made a three-pointer and a lay-up on consecutive possessions, and then Marquis Navarre, who finished with a team-high 13, was fouled while making a lay-up. Navarre made the free throw to give Montana State a 67-62 lead with 1:04 to play.
Jordan Weiner, who had eight points, made the second of his two three-pointers to pull UCSB closer at 67-65 with 55 seconds left. With 43 seconds to play, Jaimé Serna rebounded a Bobcat miss and the Gauchos called timeout.
Out of the timeout, UCSB got the ball to James Powell who drove the right side of the lane and missed a tightly contested lay-up, but Nunnally was there for the follow with 29 second left, tipping the ball in before stumbling and falling out of bounds. The freshman's tip-in tied the score at 67-67. Montana State had one more chance, but Navarre missed a three-pointer in the final second and the game headed to the overtime.
The extra session was all Gauchos. In fact, the Bobcats missed all six of their shot in the overtime and were outscored 11-4 with Devine scoring seven.
The Gauchos never took the lead in the first half, trailing the hot-shooting Bobcats by as many as 11 on two occasions. By half, the lead was down to six, 40-34, but Montana State shot 14-for-26 in the first 20 minutes, 53.8%. Danny Piepoli made 4-of-6 shots, all from three-point range. UCSB was also solid from the field, making 13-of-26, 50.0%. The Gauchos also hit 4-of-6 from three-point territory.
The second half and overtime were a different story as Montana State made just 8-of-26 shots after halftime.
Devine had seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocked shot to go along with his game-high 20 points. It was his third straight game with 20 or more. Nunnally added five rebounds and a career-high four assists. Powell had 11 points, including three three-point baskets.
The Bobcats were led by Navarre who had 13 and Piepoli who finished 12.
The win improves the Gauchos overall record to 12-13 while Montana State drops to 12-13.
UCSB returns to Big West play on Wednesday, Feb. 25 when they travel to league-leading Cal State Northridge for a 7:00 p.m. game. The Gauchos will return home on Saturday, Feb. 28 when they host UC Davis in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome. Plenty of good tickets remain available for that game and can be purchased at the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB, or online by clicking here.