Dec. 4, 2010
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - James Nunnally scored a career-high 34 points and Jaimé Serna had 11 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots as visiting UC Santa Barbara (4-3) held off every Santa Clara (4-3) rally for an 80-69 win on Saturday night.
For Nunnally, a native of nearby San Jose, it was his second straight career-high and he did it in front of numerous family members. He had 29 points in Wednesday night's win over Loyola Marymount.
"I'm originally from San Jose, so they all came out," Nunnally said. "I love playing here. I played for three years for Rumble In The Bay. I'm used to playing on these courts. Playing in front of my family is a real blessing, I'm glad I get to come back."
The teams played cat-and-mouse the entire game. In the first half, the Gauchos built leads of seven and six points only to see the Broncos come back and take the lead both times. Kevin Foster, who scored 19 of his team-high 25 in the first half, made three free throws with 1:34 to play to give his team its largest lead at 33-30.
UCSB closed the first half on a 10-2 run with Nunnally scoring eight of the 10 points, including the final three on a 24-footer from the right side with three seconds to play. He matched Foster's 19 first half points and the Gauchos needed every one of them as their leading scorer, Orlando Johnson, was limited to four minutes because of foul trouble.
"I knew OJ was in foul trouble, so I just did whatever my team needed me to do," Nunnally said.
Santa Barbara scored the first four points of the second half, two each on free throws by Johnson and Nunnally, but another three-pointer by Foster, his sixth and final one of the game, pulled the Broncos to within 44-38 with 17:17 left.
"The first half, we gave Foster too many open looks," Williams said. "We were gapping a little because we were afraid of his driving instead of just competing and getting after him. In the second half, I thought Will (Brew) and Jordan primarily did a great job of keeping the ball out of Foster's hands."
With 15:00 to play, Nunnally made two more free throws to give the Gauchos their first double-digit lead of the game, 51-41. At that point, UCSB had outscored Santa Clara 11-6 to open the half, but a three-pointer by Jordan Weiner was the team's only field goal.
A lay-up by Serna with 6:41 to play boosted Santa Barbara's lead back to 10, 64-54, but the Broncos ran off six straight points, the last three when Robert Smith recovered a deflected long rebound and made a three-pointer. After a timeout, however, Nunnally made a lay-up to push the edge back to 66-60. Smith responded, sandwiching a dunk by Serna with a lay-up and a short jumper and the score was 68-64 Gauchos.
On the next possession, Johnson dribbled up the floor and calmly pulled-up for a three-pointer from above the top of the key to start a 7-0 UCSB run that made it 75-64 with just 1:17 to play and the lead never went below eight after that.
The double-double was the first of Serna's career and his 10 rebounds and five blocked shots were both career-highs. Johnson finished with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists. Weiner scored a season-high nine points and Brew had a season-best six.
"I'm definitely starting to get in the groove," Serna said. "The scoring -- I don't know anyone who doesn't like to score. I'm happy to have provided. We just have to keep running the offense. I think if we do that, they sag out and get lazy and things open up inside and outside."
Nunnally has now set a new career-high in scoring three times this season. In the last two games, he has averaged 31.5 points per game while making 19-of-25 shots overall, 76.0%, and 8-of-11 from three-point range.
The teams each shots 32 free throws, but the Gauchos had a big advantage as they made 25 as compared to Santa Clara's 19. UCSB shot 44.4% overall and 46.7% from three-point territory. The Broncos made 35.6% overall and 36.4% from three-point range, but they hit just 29.0% overall and 22.2% from beyond the arc in the decisive second half.
UCSB has now won two straight and three out of four. It was the Gauchos first win in a true road game in 2010-11.
After an extended 11-day break for final exams, UCSB returns to action on Wednesday, Dec. 18 when it travels to UNLV for a 7:00 p.m. game against the 23rd-ranked Runnin' Rebels.. The game will be broadcast on AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara and on-line at NewsPress.com. Following road games at UNLV and San Diego State, the Gauchos will return home on Dec. 21 to host Cal Baptist 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.