March 19, 2010
MILWAUKEE - UC Santa Barbara's season ended on Friday night with a 68-51 loss to 5th-ranked Ohio State in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament at Milwaukee.
The Gauchos (20-10) struggled to get open shots all night and that was reflected in their 32.3% field goal percentage. The Buckeyes (28-7), who move on to face Georgia Tech in the second round Sunday, blocked 12 shots, including eight by center Dallas Lauderdale.
"It was tough to get shots off on them," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "Dallas (Lauderdale) was a big presence in the paint and at the rim and that was a decisive factor."
Lauderdale had five of his eight blocked shots in the first 20 minutes as Ohio State built a 30-17 halftime lead. However, Lauderdale's defensive performance was just half the story. The other was the outside shooting of guard Jon Diebler who made 7-of-12 3-point attempts, including four in the first half, and finished with a game-high 23 points.
"Diebler really made us pay for the attention we gave to (Evan) Turner," Williams said. He knocked-down the open shots and a couple that weren't so open."
Williams was informed the Diebler was sick for much of the week and did not practice.
"That's supposed to make me feel better," he laughed. "I guess if he'd been healthy he would have hit 10-of-15."
Turner, an All-American and possible national player of the year, made just 2-of-13 shots and finished with nine points. He did contribute 10 rebounds and five assists.
Santa Barbara pulled within eight twice in the second half, the last time coming when Will Brew drove down the lane and hit Greg Somogyi with a nifty pass. Somogyi slammed the ball home to make the score 32-24 Buckeyes with 17:05 left in the game.
Diebler and Lauderdale responded on the offensive end with a 3-pointer and slam dunk respectively and the lead was back to 13, 37-24.
Orlando Johnson, who finished with 20 points, scored 10 straight points for UCSB, but when he scored his last two from the free throw line, the lead was still 47-24 Ohio State.
Senior guard James Powell, playing his final game for the Gauchos, drained a 3-pointer with 11:42 to play, pulling them to within 10 for the final time, 47-37. Powell finished with 11 points, making 3-of-7 from 3-point range. Powell ends his career with a school record 221 3-point baskets.
Santa Barbara never got closer than 12 the rest of the way.
In addition to solid performances by Johnson and Powell, the Gauchos received a good effort from Somogyi who had six points, six rebounds, and two blocked shots.
William Buford (16) joined Diebler as the only Buckeye's in double-figures. Ohio State used just seven players with two playing 40 minutes and two others playing 37 or more.
As a team, Ohio State shot just 40.4% overall, but they also made 10-of-22 from 3-point range, 45.5%, and 16-of-18 from the free throw line, 88.9%.
The Gauchos will lose just two players - Powell and guard Paul Roemer - from a team that won the Big West regular season championship and tournament titles in the same year for the first time. UCSB was making its fourth NCAA Division I Tournament appearance and its first since 2002.
"This was a great experience for us," said Johnson, who was the Big West Player of the Year, Big West Tournament MVP, First Team All-Big West, and First Team All-District as a sophomore. "But we understand that we have to come back and work just that much harder to get to the next level. The offseason will be very important for us and we will take it very seriously."