UCSB Comes Through Down the Stretch, Defeats Weber State, 66-57
Nov. 17, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Orlando Johnson had 19 points and 10 rebounds and UC Santa Barbara limited Weber State to just 7-of-38 from beyond the three-point line en route to a 66-57 win on Tuesday night in Santa Barbara.
The double-double was the first of Johnson's Gaucho career. The sophomore transfer made 6-of-11 shots, including 2-of-4 from three-point range. He also received six stitches following the game, the result of a dive into the UCSB bench as he tried to retrieve a loose ball late in the game. Johnson was briefly taken out of the contest before returning for the final minutes.
"He is so tough," said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams. "A little thing like that wasn't going to keep him on the bench. He is just so competitive."
The game, which didn't seem too competitive early in the second half, became just that as the Wildcats clawed-back from a double-figure deficit.
The Gauchos (2-0) had a 30-20 lead at half and opened the second half by outscoring the Wildcats (1-1) 8-2. A three-point play by Jaimé Serna with 18:04 to play gave UCSB its biggest lead of the game, 38-22, but the Gauchos didn't make another field goal for nearly 10 minutes.
"That was a long stretch," Williams said. "But they (Weber State) are so physical and they defend so well, it was a matter of time before they got back into it. "
A three-point basket by Damian Lillard completed a 19-5 run and pulled Weber State to within two, 43-41. UCSB responded with a pair of free throws by Serna and then a driving lay-up on a fast break by Sam Phippen to stretch the advantage back to six, 47-41, with 8:29 left. Phippen's lay-up ended a streak of 11 straight missed shots for the Gauchos and the play began when he blocked a shot on the defensive end.
"That was a huge play for us," Williams said. "We want our big guys to run the floor, and Sam really did that. It was a big play all around."
The Wildcats would never get closer than five the rest of the game and they were forced to send UCSB to the free throw line in the final minutes. The Gauchos, who struggled from the free throw line for much of the game, made 11 out of 14 free throws in the final 5:28 to put the game away. Paul Roemer was 5-for-6 from the free throw line during that span. As a team, UCSB made 27-of-39 free throws, 69.2%.
Both teams struggled offensively in a very physical game. Weber State, which was led by Lillard who had 16 points, made just 7-of-38 three-point attempts, 18.4%. Overall, the Wildcats were held to 29.7% shooting while Santa Barbara made just 35.4% of its shots, 33.3% from three-point range.
The Gauchos, which were outrebounded in their opener against Cal State Los Angeles, won the battle of the boards in this game, 43-42. Junior Jon Pastorek had a game-high 11 rebounds. Roemer and sophomore Jaimé Serna each had nine points to support Johnson, the only player in double-figures.
UCSB, which played without stating point guard Justin Joyner who is out with a sprained ankle, will return to action on Monday, Nov. 23 when it hosts San Francisco in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.
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