Johnson's 3-Pointer Saves the Day, Leads Gauchos to 85-80 OT Win over Cal State Fullerton

Johnson's 3-Pointer Saves the Day, Leads Gauchos to 85-80 OT Win over Cal State Fullerton

Jan. 23, 2010

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Orlando Johnson scored a career-high 27 points, including a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, and James Nunnally added a career-high 25 to lead UC Santa Barbara to an 85-80 Big Weset Conference win over visiting Cal State Fullerton on Saturday night.

Johnson's 3-pointer tied the score at 72-72 to end regulation and the Gauchos (10-7 overall, 5-2 in the Big West) never trailed the Titans (8-10, 3-4) the rest of the way. They have now won two straight and five out of six games.

"O.J. really saved us with that shot," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "This was a very big win for us. They (Fullerton) are a very good and well-coached team and for these guys (the Gauchos) to bounce back after giving up the big lead is a real gut-check."

After Jacques Streeter missed a 3-pointer to start the overtime, James Powell made one to give UCSB a 75-72 lead. On Fullerton's next possession, Powell came up with a steal and a breakaway lay-up to push the advantage to 77-72 with 3:51 remaining in the extra period.

Devon Peltier, who finished with a career-high 21 points, made a long three from the corner to pull the Titans within two, 77-75, but Orlando Johnson answered with a lay-up to make it 79-75. After another steal by Powell, Will Brew made a hanging scoop shot to give the Gauchos an 81-75 lead with 1:26 to play.

Fullerton's Aaron Thompson missed a 3-pointer that was rebounded by Santa Barbara. Brew was fouled with 1:03 left, making 1-of-2 free throws to make it 82-75 Gauchos. Streeter responded with a 3-pointer from the left side and the lead was back to four, 82-78. Brew was fouled again just after the inbounds pass and, again, he made 1-of-2 free throws to stretch the lead to five, 83-78.

The Titans' Jer'Vaughn Johnson was fouled by Orlando Johnson with 31 seconds left, making two free throws to trim the lead to 83-80. A UCSB turnover just after the ball was inbounded gave Fullerton another chance with 29 seconds to play, but Streeter and Peltier each missed three-pointers. Peltier's miss was rebounded by Will Brew who got the ball to Nunnally for a breakaway slam dunk and an 85-80 Gaucho win.

Johnson's heroics at the end of regulation saved UCSB. The Gauchos allowed a 16-point second half lead to vanish. Trailing 51-35 with 14:59 to play, the Titans went on an 11-0 run to pull within five, 51-46, with 12:51 remaining. UCSB pushed the lead back to 64-53 with 6:04 left, but a 10-0 Fullerton run, capped by a Gerard Anderson lay-up, made it 64-63 with just over three minutes to play.

The Titans tied the game at 67 on a pair of free throws by Peltier with 1:24 to play in regulation. After a lay-up by UCSB's Johnson, Peltier made a 3-pointer to give his team its first lead of the game, 70-69, with 47 seconds left. UCSB missed what would have been a game-tying shot on the other end and Peltier was fouled. He made a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left, setting the stage for Johnson's clutch 3-pointer.

Nunnally added a team-high 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Powell finished with 14 points for the Gauchos, who shot 50.0% for the game. In addition, UCSB had just nine turnovers to go with 18 assists.

UCSB returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 28 when it hosts Cal Poly, which is also 5-2 in the Big West. The game will be part of the Blue-Green Rivalry Series for Sustainability.

The athletics rivalry between UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly has grown in recent years, and now the schools plan to put their competition to good use.

As the Gauchos and Mustangs battle it out on the field, diamond, court, and in the pool, the Big West rivals will seek to make fans and students aware of their campuses' recycling and sustainability efforts. The eco-slant to the rivalry fits the colors of sustainability (blue and green) as well as those of UCSB (blue) and Cal Poly (green).

The Blue-Green Rivalry is based on the results of the 16 common sports that the schools compete in. To see the points system and updated rivalry standings, click here.

The creative angle of using games to promote the campuses' sustainability and recycling efforts is the first of its kind in college athletics. To learn more about sustainability efforts at UCSB, click here.

To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or click here.