February 28, 2009

Freshmen Lead the Way as Gauchos Comeback to Edge UC Davis, 66-64

Feb. 28, 2009

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Freshman James Nunnally scored 18 points and freshman Jaimé Serna added 13 as UC Santa Barbara came from behind to edge UC Davis on Saturday night, 66-64. The Gauchos have now won five of their last six games.

UCSB (13-14 overall, 6-8 in the Big West) trailed the Aggies (12-17 overall, 7-8 in the Big West) by as many as 13 points twice in the fist half, but clawed back to pull within four, 32-28, at halftime. Nunnally scored nine of his points during a 16-7 Gaucho run that ended the half and narrowed what had been a 25-12 lead to just four points.

After the teams traded baskets to open the second half, a lay-up by Dominic Calegari with 17:19 to play gave Davis a 36-30 lead. A three-point play by Chris Devine, a short jumper by Jesse Byrd, and one free throw by D.J. Posley tied the score at 36 apiece with 14:51 remaining. It was the first tie of the night. The Aggies regained the advantage, but a slam dunk by Serna gave the Gauchos their first lead at 38-37 with 13:00 to play.

Davis scored the next five points, the last three on a three-point shot by Calegari, to take a four-point lead, 42-38. The lead was still four, 43-39, when UCSB went on an 11-2 run to take a 50-45 lead. Nunnally and Serna each had four of the 11 points. The Gaucho lead ballooned to as many as eight, 56-48 with 4:58 remaining in the game.

The Aggies edged closer as Santa Barbara went 7-for-16 from the free throw line in the final 3:05. When Posley missed a pair with just under three seconds to play and a two-point lead, Davis guard Vince Oliver rebounded and had one final shot from just behind the halfcourt line. The shot missed and the Gauchos held on.

"We showed something coming back tonight," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "I thought the second set of guards we came with really energized us and got things turned around. Nun (James Nunnally) and Nick (Quck) really gave us a spark. I also thought Jaimé (Serna) was very good, especially in the second half. We needed some guys to step-up. Chris (Devine) isn't going to score 25 every night."

Devine did finish with 11 points, seven rebounds, and three blocked shots. Seldom-used Nick Quick played a career-high 12 minutes and scored seven points, six of which were on three-point baskets. Nunnally added five rebounds and a pair of assists to his team-high 18 points. Serna made all four of his free throws and added four rebounds. UCSB had 12 steals for the game, led by Posley who had five. The Gauchos have 26 steals in their last two games.

UC Davis was led by sophomore forward Joe Harden who had 20 points and nine rebounds. Oliver added 19 points for the Aggies.

UCSB will remain at home for its final two games, hosting UC Riverside on Thursday, Mar. 5, and Long Beach State on Saturday, Mar. 7. Plenty of good tickets remain available for both games and are available from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by call in 805-893-UCSB, or on-line by clicking here.

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