February 24, 2010

First-Place Gauchos Hold On for Sixth Straight Win, 74-69 Over Northridge

Feb. 24, 2010

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Orlando Johnson scored 19 points and James Powell added 17, including four free throws in the final minute, as UC Santa Barbara withstood a furious rally by visiting Cal State Northridge and won its sixth straight game, 74-69.

The Gauchos (17-8 overall, 11-3 in the Big West) led 47-21 with 13:48, but the Matadors (10-18 overall, 5-8 in the Big West) went on a 46-22 run, cutting the lead to two points, 69-67, on a pair of free throws by Willie Galick with 24 seconds left.

Following Galick's free throws, UCSB got the ball into Powell and the senior was fouled with 20 seconds left and he made a pair of free throws to bump the lead to 71-67. On its next possession, Northridge got the ball back to Galick, but his lay-up attempt was blocked by Jaimé Serna, who also collected the rebound and was fouled immediately.

Serna made one of his two free throw attempts to give the Gauchos a 72-67 lead with 12-second left, but Galick was fouled again and again he made both free throws to cut Santa Barbara's lead to 72-69 with seven seconds remaining.

Once more, UCSB got the ball into Powell who was intentionally fouled and he calmly made both free throws with five seconds left. Northridge's Mark Hill missed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"They (the Matadors) like to turn games into a scrambly-type of game," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "They were able to do that in the second half. We don't play well in that type of game. We like to be the ones to speed things up."

The Gauchos piled-up a 32-17 halftime lead. Northridge had 16 first-half turnovers and made just 6-of-16 field goal attempts overall, missing all three 3-point attempts. James Nunnally scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half and Powell added nine, all on 3-point baskets. Greg Somogyi scored all six of his points in the first 20 minutes. Johnson was held to four points, all on free throws, in the first half.

"We did some good things in the first half," Williams said. "I thought we kind of harassed them into some of those turnovers and we got some baskets in transition."

Johnson added seven assists for the Gauchos while Serna added 15 points and six rebounds. Matador guard Kenny Daniels led all players with 23 points and nine rebounds. Hill added 12 and Galick 11 for the visitors.

Northridge had 26 turnovers and the teams combined for 50. They also combined for 55 fouls and there were 70 free throws shot in the game.

The Gauchos have not only won six in a row, their longest winning streak since the preseason in 2007-08, but they have also won nine of 10, and 12 of 14. They will travel to Cal Poly on Saturday for a 7:00 p.m. game against the Mustangs. The game is part of the Blue-Green Rivalry Series.

UCSB will play its final home game of the 2009-10 season on Wednesday, Mar. 3 when it hosts UC Irvine. The game between the Gauchos and Anteaters will be Senior Night and a pregame ceremony will salute Powell and Paul Roemer.

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