Gauchos Go Small to Win Season Opener, 65-49 over Denver
Nov. 12, 2010
EUGENE, Ore. - UC Santa Barbara went small in the second half of its season-opening game against the University of Denver in the BTI Invitational at the University of Oregon on Friday and the result was a 65-49 win. The victory was Bob Williams' 200th as coach of the Gauchos.
With 14:14 remaining in the game and the score tied at 37, Williams made wholesale lineup changes. The 13th-year head coach brought in Jordan Weiner, Justin Joyner, Christian Peterson, Will Brew and Jaimé Serna to speed things up. The lineup change spurred a 10-0 run - capped by a Weiner three-pointer - over a span of 4:23, giving the Gauchos a 47-37 lead.
"The change in the game came when we went little," Williams said. "Justin, Jordan, Will, Christian and Jaimé really changed the game. They were too quick for them and that allowed us to scramble and really disrupt what they were doing offensively."
What Denver was doing offensively was patiently working the ball around and making three-pointers. The Pioneers kept the game close in the first half by hitting 5-of-9 shots from beyond the arc, but after making 2-of-4 to open the second half, they missed six in a row over the final 14 minutes to finish at 7-of-19, 36.8%.
In all, after making 55.0% (11-of-20) shots in the first half, Denver made just 19.0% (4-for-21) in the second half.
Led by the smaller, quick lineup, UCSB finished with 17 steals for the game, tying the second most in school history. Ten of the steals came in the second half when the Gauchos outscored the Pioneers 33-19. Denver was held without a field goal for more than seven minutes midway through that second half.
Junior James Nunnally led Santa Barbara with 17 points while junior Orlando Johnson added 16 points and a game-high seven rebounds. Serna finished with 12 points. Brew, Joyner, Nunnally and Johnson each had three steals and eight different Gauchos had at least one.
Williams became the third coach in UCSB history to win 200 games. He needs six more to move past Willie Wilton and into second on the school's all-time list.
The Gauchos will play North Dakota State on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. on the second day of the BTI Invitational. The game will be broadcast live on AM 1290, KZSB, and streamed live at NewsPress.com. The pregame show will begin at 5:30 p.m.
UCSB will play its first home game on Saturday, Nov. 20 when it hosts Fresno State in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome. To purchase season tickets or for more information, 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.