Dec. 18, 2010
SAN DIEGO - Malcolm Thomas scored 18 points and had 10 rebounds and Kawhi Leonard added 13 to lead 10th-ranked San Diego State to an 90-64 win over visiting UC Santa Barbara on Saturday night at Viejas Arena in San Diego. Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally had 15 points apiece to lead the Gauchos.
The Aztecs, who missed all 18 of their three-pointers while playing without Leonard and Chase Tapley in their last game, made 12 triples on Saturday night, including four each by Tapley and D.J. Gay.
The game was essentially decided in the final 11:53 of the first half. Leading just 17-13, the Aztecs (12-0) finished the half by outscoring UCSB (5-4) 40-16. After making six of their first 11 shots, they drilled 14 of their next 18, including 7-of-9 from three-point range that stretch, to take a commanding 57-29 lead at the break.
In its previous game, UCSB defeated 22nd-ranked UNLV on the road. The combination of that and SDSU's three-point struggles in its last game served to motivate the Aztecs.
"That's a bad combination," said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams. "They couldn't hit a three in their last game and we go in and knock-off a top-25 team. I'm sure that Coach (Steve) Fisher really got their attention and their focus was great tonight.
In addition to the three-pointers, the inside work of Thomas and Billy White was also a pivotal factor, particularly in the first half. The duo combined to go 9-for-9 and score 23 points in the first 20 minutes and 11-of-14 with 29 points in the game.
After beginning the game by making 6-of-10 shots from the field, UCSB made just 6-of-20 during the decisive stretch that ended the first half.
In addition to his 15 points, Johnson added six rebounds and six assists. Jaimé Serna was in double-figures for the third game in a row with 10 points in just 12 minutes. Greg Somogyi added seven points while tying his career-high with eight rebounds.
Freshman Troy Leaf, who played at nearby Foothills Christian High School, played in front of more than 100 supporters and he finished with five points, including a three-point basket.
The loss ended Santa Barbara's three-game winning streak. SDSU was the highest ranked opponent that the Gauchos had faced since November of 2008 when they played top-ranked North Carolina at the Thunderdome.
UCSB 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.