Seniors Have Night to Remember as Gauchos Blast UC Davis, 90-43

Greg Somogyi (Photo by Vince Agapito)
Greg Somogyi (Photo by Vince Agapito)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Fittingly, on Senior Night at UC Santa Barbara, all five seniors were in the starting lineup for the first time this season.  Even more fittingly, the five led the Gauchos to a resounding 90-43 win over visiting UC Davis on Saturday night.  They have now won three in a row and six of the last seven.

UCSB will enter the Big West Tournament on Thursday as the No. 3 seed and play sixth-seeded Pacific in a game that will tip-off at noon in Honda Center at Anaheim, Calif.

The 47-point margin of victory was the largest for the Gauchos in a game since December 29, 1971 when they beat Chicago State, 108-56.

Despite the win, UCSB (18-9 overall, 12-4 in the Big West) will be the third seed in the Big West Tournament after Cal State Fullerton upset Long Beach State earlier in the day to finish at 12-4 in league as well.  By virtue of their win over Long Beach, however, the Titans own the tiebreaker and will receive the No. 2 seed. 

Led by James Nunnally and Orlando Johnson who finished with 21 and 20 points respectively, the Gauchos blasted out to 43-13 lead 5:46 left to play in the first half.  They settled for a 47-21 halftime lead with Nunnally scoring 14 and Johnson going for 12.

The score was just 14-11 when UCSB went on a devastating 29-2 run to take the 43-13 advantage.  Nunnally scored 12 of his points during the run. 

"I was glad that our seniors were able to go out with a win," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams.  "Sometimes on Senior Night, the guys can be a little keyed-up and it hurts them.  Tonight, I thought their energy really carried the day.  They have been practicing so well and that is really starting to show in games." 

Nunnally's first basket of the night was a three-pointer with 11:17 remaining in the first half and it put him over the 1,600 point mark.  He is just the fifth Gaucho to achieve the mark.  By the end of the first half, he had passed Chris Devine and moved into fourth on the school's all-time scoring list.  Nunnally now has 1,619 career points. 

Johnson, who became UCSB's all-time leading scorer a week ago, now has 1,754 points in his career.

Nunnally (5-for-10) and Johnson (4-for-6) also led the way as the Gauchos bettered their season-high for three-point baskets for the second game in a row.  After making 12 in a win over Pacific on Thursday, they drilled 13-of-24 against the Aggies, 54.2%.

"This was a great night," Nunnally said.  "I got to play in front of so many friends and family.  We done a lot of good things in our time here together and hopefully we can do some more."

While Johnson and Nunnally had their share of highlights on Saturday night, they weren't alone.  Fellow senior Christian Peterson, a walk-on, made the first three-point basket of his career and finished with five points and four rebounds.  Jaimé Serna, a four-year starter, had four points, three rebounds and three assists and Greg Somogyi, who ranks second on UCSB's all-time blocked shot list with 181, had four to go along with six points, four rebounds and two assists.

A pair of underclassmen also did some damage of their own.  Freshman forward Alan Williams scored 17 points, making 7-of-8 shots from the field, had nine rebounds and blocked a pair of shots.  Sophomore guard Kyle Boswell had 14 points and made three three-pointers.

Davis, which dropped to 5-25 overall and 3-13 in the Big West, was led by J.T. Adenrele who had 16 points and seven rebounds.   Eddie Miller added 15 points.

Tickets for the Big West Tournament are available from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.