SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Chace Stanback made a long three-pointer at the end of the first overtime and then scored five points in the second extra period to lift 18th-ranked UNLV past UC Santa Barbara 94-88 in a classic double-overtime thriller at the Thunderdome on Wednesday night.
The game took numerous twists and turns with the Gauchos (4-2) coming back after trailing the Runnin' Rebels (8-0) by 10 with less than two minutes to play in regulation and then Stanback's three-pointer on a follow at the end of the first overtime after UCSB had just forced a missed three.
"That was a very tough loss," said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams. "But I loved the way we fought back in regulation to send it to the overtime."
It was an improbable end to regulation. When Mike Moser, who finished with 34 points including 25 in the second half, made a three-pointer from the corner with 2:03 left, it put the Rebels up 69-59. UCSB's Jaimé Serna took the first chip out of the lead when he made a layup with 1:42 remaining.
A steal and layup by Orlando Johnson, who scored a game-high 36 points, shaved the lead to 69-63 with 47 seconds left. On the other end, Oscar Bellfield missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and James Nunnally secured the rebound. Johnson was fouled going to the basket and made both free throws to bring the Gauchos within four, 69-65, with 40 seconds remaining.
Johnson then rebounded a missed layup by Anthony Marshall and made a layup and was fouled with 17 seconds left. He made the free throw and it was a one-point game, 69-68. With seven seconds on the clock, Stanback was fouled, making a pair of free throws to stretch the lead to 71-68. Following a timeout, the Rebels fouled Johnson with 2.5 seconds left, preventing an attempted three-pointer.
The Gaucho senior made the first of the two free throws and, after a timeout, intentionally missed the second. UCSB center Greg Somogyi, inserted into the game specifically for rebounding purposes, did just that, coming down with the missed free throw and then scoring on a layup that bounced three-times on the rim before it fell through as the buzzer sounded, sending the contest into a first overtime.
Neither team seized control early in the first overtime. With 2:01 left, a three-pointer by Nunnally tied the score at 78-78. After a turnover by UNLV, the Gauchos claimed an 81-78 edge when freshman guard T.J. Taylor drained a long three-pointer from above the key. UNLV's Bellfield matched Taylor's three with one of his own, tying the score at 81 with 43 seconds left.
With 13 seconds to play, Nunnally was fouled by Stanback as he attempted a three-pointer. Nunnally calmly made all three free throws to give his team an 84-81 lead. Marshall missed a three-point attempt from above the left side of the key, but Stanback tracked down the long rebound and made a 25-footer to tie the score at 84 and send the contest into a second overtime.
"To be honest, the thought that we may have won the game when their guy missed that first three did come into my mind," Williams said. "But the offensive rebound killed us. Give him credit, he chased it down and made a big shot."
UNLV scored the first four points of the second extra period. Brice Massamba made one of two free throws to give the Rebels a one-point lead. On UCSB's end of the floor, Nunnally was called for a charge on a layup and a basket was disallowed. It was a pivotal play because the foul was Nunnally's fifth of the game and he went to the bench.
Johnson made a pair of free throws with 3:12 left to pull the Gauchos back to within two, 88-86, but they then went scoreless for the next 3:05 and were behind 92-86. A layup by Serna with 27 seconds left made it 92-88, but Stanback made two more free throws for the final margin of 94-88.
UCSB's Johnson had 10 rebounds to go along with his game-high 36 points for his third double-double of the season. He, Nunnally (14 points) and Serna (13 points) combined for 47 points in the second half and overtime periods. Stanback (19 points), who was scoreless at halftime, combined with Moser for 44 second half and OT points. Taylor added a career-high 10 points for the Gauchos while Marshall (13 points) and Bellfield (11 points) were also in double-figures for the Rebels.
The Gauchos will now take several days off for final exams before returning to the court for a 6:00 p.m. game at the University of San Diego on Tuesday, Dec. 13. The game against the Toreros will open a four-game, 12-day road trip that will include stops at Washington (Dec. 16), Cal (Dec. 19) and BYU (Dec. 22). Following a Christmas and New Years break, UCSB will open Big West play with a Jan. 2 game at Cal Poly. The next home game for the Gauchos will be on Jan. 5 against Cal State Fullerton, 35 days from now.