March 5, 2011
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - James Nunnally scored 14 points, Jaimé Serna added 12 and UC Santa Barbara set a school record with 14 blocked shots en route to a 49-43 win over visiting Cal Poly on Saturday night. The Gauchos (15-13, 8-8) also limited the Mustangs (15-14, 10-6) to a 25.4% shooting from the field. The game was part of the Blue-Green Rivalry Series.
The win moved UCSB into a tie with Pacific for fourth-place in the Big West Conference, but the Tigers will receive the fourth seed and the Gauchos the fifth in next week's league tournament by virtue of their sweep of the season series between the schools. The game, which will be played on Thursday, Mar. 10, is expected to tip-off at 2:30 p.m. at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
"This was one of our best defensive efforts in a while," said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams. "I thought we were pretty spirited, didn't quit on plays and, for the most part did a nice job."
The defensive effort helped Santa Barbara overcome an 11-minute scoring drought in the first half. When Orlando Johnson made a three-point basket with 11:02 to play in the first half , the Gauchos led 17-5. It was the last points they would score until a Jordan Weiner put-back as time ran out to end the half gave them a 19-14 lead at the break. Johnson finished with six points, the lowest point total of his career and the first time in 58 games at UCSB that he had scored in single-digits.
Cal Poly scored only seven points in the final 10:40 of the first half.
The game remained close in the second half. David Hanson, who finished with a team-high 12 points, made a pair of free throws with 14:57 remaining to tie the score for the only time in the game, 27-27.
Serna, who left the game late in the second half with a leg injury, made a lay-up and was fouled with 14:33 left. He made the free throw to put the Gauchos back up by three, 30-27.
Santa Barbara's advantage remained between one and three over the next seeral minutes, but a Serna lay-up and a driving leaner by Troy Leaf made it 38-31 with 9:05 on the clock. The Mustangs would score the next four points - but it would take them nearly three minutes - to pull within 38-35 with 6:20 left.
As was the case in the first half, UCSB had a scoring drought. A Justin Joyner three-pointer with 2:30 left in the were the Gauchos first points since Leaf's shot with just over nine minutes to play.
On the next Cal Poly possession, a Hanson jumper was blocked by Greg Somogyi, who finished with a season-high six swats. Somogyi also rebounded the ball and was then on the receiving end of a perfect pass from Johnson, making a lay-up and giving UCSB a 43-35 edge with 1:45 left in the game.
A reverse lay-up by Will Donahue narrowed the Gauchos' lead to 43-37 and after each team missed three-point attempts, they put the game away when Johnson found Nunnally for an alley-oop dunk with 56 seconds left in the game, pushing the lead to 45-37.
Three-pointers by Shawn Lewis and Chris O'Brien sandwiched a pair of Nunnally free throws to make the score 47-43 with 11 seconds left, but Jordan Weiner made two free throws with one second to play to make it 49-43.
In the first game this season between UCSB and Cal Poly, the Mustangs were 13-of-26 from three-point range. On Saturday night, they made just 4-of-20 and were 2-of-18 before making two in the waning seconds.
Nunnally added a team-high nine rebounds to go with his 14 points. Johnson, who was triple-teamed much of the night, had seven rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots. Jon Pastorek, who like Joyner and Weiner was playing his final game at the Thunderdome, had four points, but added seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
Lewis, Cal Poly's leading scorer at 15.5 points per game at the start of the night, was held to just six points on 2-of-13 from the field overall and 1-of-6 from three-point range. Hanson missed all six of his three-point attempts. Donahue led both teams with 10 rebounds.
For the men's ampm Big West Tournament ticket information, fans can call the UCSB ticket office at (805) 893-UCSB or visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus.
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Tune in to UCSB Athletics' weekly radio show Talk'n Gauchos, which airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1290 KZSB. The show is broadcast live from the Beachside Bar & Café on Goleta Beach. Fans are encouraged to attend the show for free gear and ticket giveaways and can even e-mail a question in to one of the guests and have it read live over the air. The show also airs live online via audio streaming and fans can click here to check out the entire lineup of live audio streaming online.