Jan. 5, 2012
Goleta, Calif. -
Orlando Johnson scored 23 points and James Nunnally added 18 Thursday night to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 77-64 Big West Conference victory over Cal State Fullerton.
The Gauchos improved to 7-5 and 2-0 thanks primarily to a 24-7 spurt over the final 7 minutes of the first half. The Titans (10-4, 2-1) saw their 7-game winning streak come to an end despite 18 points by Isiah Umipig and 15 by D. J. Seeley, who also had 10 rebounds to share game honors with teammate Andre Hardy.
Fullerton led for the defense-dominated first 13 minutes before UCSB finished the half with its 24-7 run, making 8 of 10 field goals, to build a 35-21 lead at the break. It was Fullerton's lowest scoring first half of the season and the Titans could get only as close as 8 points in the second half.
Fullerton shot only 34 percent from the floor including 29 percent from the 3-point line. UCSB shot 46 percent overall but made half of its treys, 8 of 16.
"We got into such a hole, it was hard to recover," said Fullerton Coach Bob Burton. "Once we loosened up and started to score we played them even in the second half
"Santa Barbara's defense was outstanding, the best we've seen this year. They play that matchup zone. We shot poorly and part of that was their defense. I don't know what the other part was.
"I thought Hardy played terrific (8 points and 10 rebounds) for us. He was tough."
Kwame Vaughn' s 3-pointer was the first basket of the game but it turned out to be Fullerton's last trey of the first half despite 10 attempts while the Gauchos made 6 of 12 from behind the arc. Fullerton made only 2 of its last 16 shots of the half.
UCSB's size bothered the Titans inside and the Gauchos were credited with 7 blocks and numerous bothers.
Fullerton plays Saturday at Cal Poly while UCSB is off until a Jan. 12 game at UC Riverside.