Shorthanded Gauchos Easily Defeat Ball State in Final Non-Conference Game, 71-51
Dec. 29, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Despite playing without a two regular starters, UC Santa Barbara parlayed a balanced scoring attack and major contributions from several reserves into a decisive 71-51 over visiting Ball State on Monday night.
Junior forward Jesse Byrd, sidelined for 4-6 weeks with a knee injury, and senior guard D.J. Posley, who sat out after missing three practices because weather prevented his return to Santa Barbara from Chicago following a Christmas break, each missed the game. The Gauchos, however, received 12 points, six rebounds and three assists from freshman James Nunnally, who started in place of Posley, and nine points, three rebounds, one assist, and four blocked shots from freshman Greg Somogyi, who started in place of Byrd. Another first-time starter, sophomore guard Jordan Weiner, added 11 points, all in the pivotal first half.
"I thought that those guys really gave our starting lineup a new-look and great energy," said head coach Bob Williams. "They got us off to a good start and everyone else responded."
Somogyi set the tone, scoring the first basket of the game as UCSB jumped out to a 6-0 advantage. Ball State hung around for a while, cutting the lead to 12-11 on a lay-up by Anthony Newell with 10:51 to play in the first half, but the Gauchos closed the half on a 16-2 run to take a 41-23 lead into locker room. In the second half, the teams traded baskets early, and the lead never dropped below 14 points, expanding to as many as 23.
Junior guard James Powell, who had struggled in recent games, led the Gauchos with 15 points, making 3-of-6 shots from three-point range. Senior Chris Devine had 12 points and seven rebounds, and freshman Jaimé Serna had four points and seven rebounds.
The Cardinals were led by Newell who had 14 points and nine rebounds.
As a team, UCSB shot 46.3% overall and 43.8% from three-point range. The Gauchos had just 10 turnovers in the game, their lowest total of the season.
With the win, Santa Barbara evens its record at 6-6, while Ball State drops to 5-6. The Gauchos open Big West Conference play on Friday, Jan. 2, 2009 when they travel to Long Beach State for a 7:00 p.m. game.