January 29, 2011

Late Rally Falls Short as Gauchos Lose to Cal State Northridge, 70-69

Jan. 29, 2011

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Rashaun McLemore scored 26 points, including 23 in the second half, and Lenny Daniel added 12 points and 11 rebounds to lead visiting Cal State Northridge to a 70-69 win over UC Santa Barbara on Saturday night.

Orlando Johnson poured in 28 points for the Gauchos (11-8 overall, 4-4 in the Big West).

The Matadors (8-13 overall, 5-3 in the Big West) rallied from nine points down in the first half and then squelched a late UCSB rally to win their third straight game.

Trailing 67-61 with 32 seconds to play, the Gauchos tried to rally back.

Orlando Johnson hit a jumper in the lane with 23 seconds left to shave Northridge's lead to 67-63. After McLemore was intentionally fouled and made one of two free throws, Jordan Weiner hit a long three-pointer from above the key to pull the Gauchos within two, 68-66.

Following a timeout, Santa Barbara pressed fullcourt and Daniel lost the ball out of bounds, giving the Gauchos another possession.

After another timeout, UCSB quickly got the ball into James Nunnally in the right corner. Nunnally drove the baseline and attempted a short jumper from just outside the top of the key. The shot missed, but the rebound was deflected out of bounds by the Matadors with five seconds left.

On the ensuing inbounds play, McLemore intercepted Justin Joyners pass and was immediately fouled intentionally. He made both free throws, pushing the lead to 70-66. Johnson, who finished with a team-high 28 points for the Gauchos, made a three-pointer at the buzzer for the final one-point margin.

"One day you're celebrating a close win and the next you're shaking your head," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams in reference to his team's 71-70 buzzer-beating win at Cal Poly on Thursday night. "This was a really tough one."

The game was tied at halftime as Northridge overcame an early 16-7 Gaucho lead to pull even at the break, 32-32. The Matadors then scored the first six points of the second half to claim a 38-32 advantage and UCSB never led again. There were two ties, the final one coming at 43-43 with 14:14 to play in the game.

Santa Barbara had a tough shooting night making 19-of-47 (40.4%) shots from the field and just 6-of-20 (30.0%) from three-point range. The Gauchos particularly struggled in the first half as they made just 9-of-26 overall and 2-of-11 from outside the three-point arc. Northridge made 45.1% of its shots overall and 45.0% (9-of-20) from three-point range.

"Our shots just weren't falling in the first half," Williams said. "I thought we only took a couple of quick threes and generally, I thought, we got good looks and open shots."

UCSB returns to action on Thursday, Feb. 3 when it hosts Pacific in an 8:30 p.m. game that will be televised on ESPNU. The Gauchos will also be at home on Saturday, Feb. 5 when they host UC Davis in a 7:30 p.m. game scheduled to be televised by Prime Ticket.

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.

Don't forget, fans can follow UCSB Athletics on twitter by going to twitter.com/UCSBgauchos and the men's basketball program at twitter.com/UCSBbasketball.

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