November 20, 2010

Johnson Scores Career-High 35 to Lead UCSB Past Fresno State, 69-54

Nov. 20, 2010

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Before Saturday's game against visiting Fresno State, UC Santa Barbara head coach Bob Williams talked about the need for his team to find some offensive balance. Through their first three games, the Gauchos were getting an average of 23 points from Orlando Johnson and 18 from James Nunnally. The duo was scoring about 41 of the team's 65 points per game.

Williams will have to wait at least one more game for the balance to kick in as Johnson scored a career-high 35 and Nunnally added 12 in UCSB's 69-54 win over Fresno State. Johnson also had a career-high 11 rebounds for the Gauchos (2-2).

It was the second time in the last three games that Johnson had recorded a career-high in points.

Santa Barbara led from start to finish, jumping out to a 13-0 lead with 15:24 to play in the first half. Johnson scored seven of the 13 points for UCSB. A short jumper by Garrett Johnson got the Bulldogs (1-2) on the scoreboard with 15:04 left.

A layup by Fresno State's Greg Smith, who made 7-of-8 shots and scored a team-high 15, cut the lead to 13-4, but another basket by Johnson pushed the lead back to double-digits where it remained the rest of the first half.

"That was a great performance by Orlando tonight," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "Obviously the points he scored and how he scored them, but look at his 11 rebounds. That's just a great game."

Trailing 35-24 to open the second half, the Bulldogs used a 7-0 run that was capped by a Tim Steed layup to cut the UCSB advantage to 35-31 with 16:55. Once again, however, it was Johnson to the rescue for the Gauchos as he made a baseline jumper to end Fresno State's run.

"When they made their run in the second half, I just stayed calm and kind of took it upon myself to end it," said Johnson, who made 13-of-19 field goals overall and 4-of-5 from 3-point range. "It was just one of those games when everything felt really good for me."

A layup by Bracken Funk shaved the lead back to four, but a 3-pointer by Jordan Weiner pushed it to 40-33 and started a 15-2 UCSB run that made it 52-35 with 10:08 to play. The Bulldogs had one more rally in them, going on a 9-2 run to make it 57-50 with 3:57 left in the game. The Gauchos, however, ran off nine in a row to take an insurmountable 65-50 edge with 2:34 remaining.

As a team, UCSB shot 50.9% from the floor while limiting the Bulldogs to 40.0% overall and 22.2% from 3-point range. The Gauchos also had 13 steals and forced Fresno State into 18 turnovers. Senior Justin Joyner had a team-high four assists while committing no turnovers and Nunnally added six rebounds to his 12 points.

Santa Barbara returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 27 when it travels to the University of Portland for a 7:00 p.m. game. The Gauchos next home game will be on Wednesday, Dec. 1 when they host Loyola Marymount in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.

To purchase tickets, 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.

Don't forget, fans can follow UCSB Athletics on twitter by going to twitter.com/UCSBgauchos and the men's basketball program at twitter.com/UCSBbasketball.

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