PROVO, Utah - James Nunnally and Orlando Johnson scored 22 points apiece, but UC Santa Barbara couldn't overcome a season-high 19 turnovers as the Gauchos (5-5) dropped an 89-75 decision at Brigham Young University on Thursday night. The game marked the end of UCSB's four-game, 12-day road trip.
Matt Carlino scored 22 points and Noah Harstock had 21 for the Cougars (10-3), who outscored UCSB from the free throw line, 27-7.
"I saw some good things tonight," said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams. "I wasn't happy with how we came out of Monday's game (at Cal), but tonight, I liked our energy and thought we really played hard and competed for 40 minutes. We just had way too many turnovers and in the end, that cost us."
Trailing 38-32 at the start of the second half, UCSB rallied to within 42-41 on a three-pointer by Kyle Boswell with 18:04 to play, but BYU responded with a 22-8 to assume a commanding 64-49 advantage with 12:17 to play. Brock Zylstra, completed the run with a long three-pointer from the right side.
A three-point basket by freshman T.J. Taylor kick-started the Gauchos and a pair of free throws by Jaimé Serna, who finished with 12 points, completed a 7-0 run to narrow the lead to 64-56 with 10:26 remaining.
The margin never fell below seven points again, but UCSB had one golden opportunity to carve even further into the lead but couldn't take advantage.
Boswell made two free throws with 8:38 to play, trimming BYU's lead to 67-60. On the other end, the Gauchos forced three missed shots and on the third, Nunnally came down with the rebound. A steal by Charles Abouo, however, prevented UCSB from even attempting a shot that could have made it even closer.
The Gauchos never got closer than seven the rest of the game. They also committed several fouls down the stretch and the Cougars took advantage to build the final margin of 14, 89-75.
The Gauchos led by as many as five early in the first half but after starting the game by making 6-of-8 shots from the field, they went ice cold, missing 11 of their next 15 to fall behind 30-24 with 3:17 to play.
UCSB rallied to tie the score at 30-30 before the Cougars ended the half on a 10-4 run to take a 38-32 lead at the break. Carlino scored five of the 10 points, two on a tough fall-back jumper with 50 seconds to play and the final three on a tough three-pointer from above the left side of the key with two seconds to play.
Johnson, who scored a season-low nine points in the Gauchos' 70-50 loss at Cal on Monday night, was hot in the first half as he scored 12 points, making 5-of-6 shots from the field. Defensively, UCSB became the first team this season to hold BYU under 40 points in a half.
The game against BYU ended UCSB's four-game, 12-day road trip. The Gauchos will be off until they open Big West Conference play at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 2 at Cal Poly. They will return home for the first time since Nov. 30 when they host Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, Jan. 5 at the Thunderdome.
Tickets for all Gaucho games are available from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB(8272) or by clicking here.