Dec. 15, 2010
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - UC Santa Barbara played a parlay in Las Vegas on Wednesday night and it paid off.
The Gauchos (5-3) parlayed 23 points from James Nunnally, 15 rebounds from Orlando Johnson, clutch plays from just about everyone and stifling defense en route to a 68-62 win over 22nd-ranked UNLV (9-2). The win was UCSB's first over a nationally-ranked team since it defeated the Runnin' Rebels on Feb. 22, 1993.
It was Santa Barbara's third straight win.
"This was a very big win," said Nunnally who made 7-of-12 shots overall, a trio of three-pointers and all six of his free throws. "To come in here and beat them on their home floor is great."
The Gauchos didn't waste time establishing themselves. Trailing 10-9 just five minutes into the game, they used a 14-3 run to claim a 23-13 lead. They did most of their damage from beyond the three-point line with Nunnally hitting a pair while Johnson and Jon Pastorek each made one. The other basket during the stretch came on a thunderous dunk by Greg Somogyi.
UCSB led by 12 points twice in the first half, including 30-18 with 4:51 left, but the Gauchos missed their final eight shots and UNLV went on a 12-0 run to close things out and the score was tied at halftime, 30-30.
"It was good that we went into halftime at that point," said head coach Bob Williams. "We were able to talk about things and kind of collect ourselves. We stressed to the guys to stay composed that the game was still tied, we weren't behind."
After Nunnally started the second half with a lay-up off of a pass from Justin Joyner, UNLV's Chace Stanback made a three-pointer to give his team its first lead since 10-9. Another lay-up by Nunnally gave the Gauchos a 34-33 advantage, but a pair of free throws by Oscar Bellfield and another three by Stanback gave the Runnin' Rebels their biggest lead of the game, 38-34.
An impressive 14-1 UCSB rally was started by an unlikely source. Joyner, who entered the game with just one field goal and no three-pointers in 105 minutes, made back-to-back three-pointers from the deep in the left corner to put the Gauchos back in front, 40-38.
"When they give you the open three, you've got to take it," Joyner said. "After I made the first one the second one felt good and I didn't think twice about taking it."
"J.J. is so tough," Williams said. "He's gone through so many physical things here that it's great he played a huge part in a big win for the team."
Following Joyner's second three-pointer, Stanback made one-of-two free throws, but then the Gauchos scored the next eight points. Nunnally sandwiched a three-point basket by freshman Kyle Boswell with a hanging jumper from just inside the free throw line and a three-pointer to push the lead to 48-39 with 14:23 to play.
The teams traded baskets over the next seven minutes but when Jaimé Serna made a lay-up with 7:21 left, UCSB's lead was back in double-digits, 56-46.
Once more, UNLV rallied. Three-pointers by Tre'Von Willis and Bellfield narrowed the gap to 56-52 with 5:49 on the clock. Serna made it a 58-52 game with a pair of free throws, but a 5-0 surge by the Rebels, the final two coming on free throws by Willis, shaved Santa Barbara's lead to 58-57 with 2:44 remaining.
Johnson, who made 3-of-9 shots and struggled from the field in the second half, was fouled by Stanback and made both free throws to start a 6-0 Gaucho run. Serna drilled a 17-foot jumper and Nunnally sank two free throws to give UCSB a 64-57 lead with 1:18 left. Joyner had a key steal and an assist during the spurt.
UNLV responded again with a lay-up by Willis and a pair of Stanback free throws to make it 64-61 with 46 seconds remaining. A Willis steal gave the Rebels a chance to pull even closer. Stanback missed a long three-pointer but Willis came up with the rebound and got the ball to Bellfield who tried to throw a pass along the sideline to Derrick Jasper, but the pass was stolen by Pastorek who got the ball to Nunnally who, after being fouled, made a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left.
UCSB forced another Las Vegas turnover and Nunnally was fouled again, making both free throws to stretch the lead to 68-61 with 14 seconds left. Anthony Marshall was fouled by Serna with three seconds left in the game and made one of two free throws for the final margin, 68-62.
Santa Barbara limited UNLV to 29.0% shooting overall and just 20.7% (6-of-29) from three-point range. The Gauchos, meanwhile, made 22-of-44 shots, 50.0%, including 9-of-19 from beyond the three-point arc. Also, while the Rebels attempted twice as many free throws as UCSB (34-17), the Gauchos made 15 while their opponents hit just 20.
In addition to Nunnally's 23 points and seven rebounds, Johnson added 12 points to go with his career-high 15 rebounds, and Serna had 12 points, six rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Joyner made all three of his field goal attempts and finished with eight points, his highest total since the 2007-08 season, as well as six assists, four steals, one blocked shots and a rebound. Stanback had 16 points and eight rebounds to lead UNLV.
UCSB will stay on the road and play another ranked opponent in No. 10 San Diego State on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara and on-line at NewsPress.com. Following the game at San Diego State, the Gauchos will return home on Dec. 21 to host Cal Baptist in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome. They will also open Big West Conference play on Dec. 28 with an 8:00 p.m. showdown against Long Beach State. The game against the 49ers will be televised on ESPNU. 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.