Dec. 21, 2009
TEMPE, Ariz. - One thing is for sure, Arizona State's win over visiting UC Santa Barbara on Monday night was not an inside job.
On the strength of 15 three-point baskets, including eight from forward Rihards Kuksiks, the Sun Devils (9-3) defeated the Gauchos (4-4), 69-42. The loss was the fourth in a row for UCSB.
After Gaucho forward Sam Phippen hit a jump shot to open the game, Kuksiks made the first of his seven first half three-point baskets to give his team a 3-2 lead. After a basket by Jamelle McMillan, UCSB's James Powell made a three-pointer to tie the score at five.
That was the last tie of the game. McMillan made the first of his two three-point baskets to give ASU an 8-5 lead and the Sun Devils never looked back.
The Gauchos got back to within one twice, the final time at 11-10 on a three-pointer by Orlando Johnson with 14:11 remaining in the first half. James Nunnally scored off a rebound with 10:14 left, making it 19-16, but Kuksis completed a 13-0 run with another three-pointer as ASU seize a commanding 32-16 advantage with 3:27 to play.
Following a three-pointer by Nunnally - UCSB's final field goal of the half - McMillan hit a short jumper and Kuksis drilled another long three-pointer from the left corner to give the Sun Devils a 37-19 edge. A free throw by Johnson with 21 seconds left cut the gap to 37-20 at the half.
A lay-up by Jon Pastorek with 8:39 to go in the game got the Gauchos to within 15, 52-37, but they never got closer and trailed by as many as 29 before a Johnson lay-up in the waning seconds pushed the score to 69-42 and that was how it ended.
"We weren't very good on either side of the court," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "The 15 threes are a concern, but really 69 points isn't that bad, especially if you're getting some offense. We didn't get much offense after the first 10 minutes or so, and that is a concern."
For the third straight game, the Gauchos had problems shooting the ball. A stingy ASU defense limited UCSB to 17-of-47 from the field, 36.2%. They were 6-for-20 from three-point range, 30.0%. Another major trouble spot for the Gauchos was the free throw line as they made a paltry 2-for-9, 22.2%. In their last two games, they have now made just 13-of-31 shots from the line.
Santa Barbara was paced by Orlando Johnson who had 16 points and four rebounds. He made 6-of-12 shots overall and 3-of-6 from beyond the three-point line. No other Gaucho had more than five points. Lucas Devenny and Nunnally each had a team-high five rebounds.
Kuksiks had 24 and McMillan added 16 for ASU. Ty Abbott finished with 12 on four second half three-point baskets. McMillan also had five steals. Overall, the Sun Devils made 15-of-36 three-pointers, 41.7%. Overall, they shot 44.2% from the field.
The Gauchos will take three days off for Christmas before return to practice on Christmas night. They will travel to the Golden Bear Classic in Berkeley where they will take-on Furman on Monday, Dec. 28 at 5:00 p.m. On Tuesday, Dec. 29, UCSB will play either Cal or Utah Valley.
For years, the Gauchos have been exciting crowds in the Thunderdome. Through the years, legends were made in the 'Dome. Now, five former UCSB standouts are being saluted as "Legends of the Dome." The first legendary womens volleyball star, Roberta Gehlke, was unveiled Oct. 19, 2009. The first men's basketball legend will be unveiled on Jan. 23 before a 7:00 p.m. game against Cal State Fullerton. Three other legends will be introduced this year. The second men,s hoops legend will be unveiled prior to UCSB,s 4:00 p.m. Feb. 13 game against Long Beach State. Women's basketball legends will be honored on Feb. 11 before a 7:00 p.m. game against UC Riverside, and on Feb. 27 before a 2:00 p.m. Blue-Green Rivalry Series game against Cal Poly.