Ice Cold Gauchos Drop Big West Opener to Long Beach State, 71-55
Dec. 28, 2010
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Larry Anderson, playing for the first time since breaking a bone in his left hand on Nov. 30, scored 25 points leading visiting Long Beach State to a 71-55 win over UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday night. The game was the Big West opener for both teams.
UCSB (6-5 overall, 0-1 in the Big West) had its 11-game home winning streak ended while the 49ers (6-8 overall, 1-0 in the Big West) halted a four-game losing streak. The game was rematch of last year's Big West Tournament championship game, won by the Gauchos. The teams are once again favored to contend for the league crown.
The Gauchos struggled on the offensive end all night. They made just 33.3% of their field goals overall, including 5-of-22 from three-point range. Long Beach, meanwhile, made 49.0% overall and 58.3% in the second half.
Anderson was not in the starting lineup, but he entered the game with just over 13 minutes remaining in the first half. After missing his first shot, a lay-up, the junior made his last nine to finish 9-of-10 for the game.
"Anderson was a difference-maker," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "After he missed that first shot he was perfect and that kind of opened things up for all of their guys. It wasn't just his scoring, he had eight rebounds and played a really good all-around game."
Leading just 29-26 at half, the 49ers outscored Santa Barbara 23-13 over the first nine minutes of the second half to take a commanding 52-39 lead. The Gauchos used an 11-3 run to claw to within 55-50, but with a chance to cut the gap even more, Orlando Johnson's three-point attempt was blocked and Eugene Phelps made a scoop shot on the other end, was fouled, and made the free throw to extend the advantage back to 58-50 and ignite a 12-2 Long Beach surge that put the game out of reach.
"I thought they (Long Beach) did a great job defensively," Williams said. "They match-up well with James (Nunnally) and Orlando and did a good job of taking them out of the game. Nun was never able to get into a rhythm and even when O.J. got to the rim, his shot wasn't falling."
Nunnally, who entered the game as the Big West's leading scorer at 20.2 points per game, had the worst shooting game of his career as he made just 1-of-11 shots overall and 1-for-8 from three-point range. Johnson finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, but he made just 5-of-16 overall and 2-of-6 from beyond the three-point line.
The Gauchos closed an ugly first half on a positive not, cutting a 29-20 lead to 29-26. The final three points came on a broken play as the first half concluded.
After a steal on the defensive end, Jordan Weiner went in for a lay-up but his shot was blocked about 28 feet out. Jon Pastorek retrieved the ball and launched a desperation three-pointer from just in front of the sideline. The shot went in but was initially ruled to have gone in after the buzzer, but officials reviewed the play and sideline replays showed that the shot left Pastorek's hand before time elapsed and was counted.
Justin Joyner, who made 4-of-6 shots and finished with nine points, and Pastorek, who had five points, six rebounds and four assists were bright spots for the Gauchos. Greg Somogyi also had nine points and five boards for UCSB while Jaimé Serna, who was questionable with a strained groin entering the game, had eight points in 18 minutes.
T.J. Robinson added 13 points and six rebounds for the 49ers while Eugene Phelps and Greg Plater added 12 points each.
UCSB returns to action on Friday, Dec. 31 when they host Fresno Pacific in a New Year's Eve Matinee that will tip-off at 2:00 p.m. in 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.