Junior guard Orlando Johnson found his stroke on Thursday night, scoring 16 points in the second half on the way to a game-leading 21 points on 7-15 shooting in the Gauchos’ 77-65 victory at UC Davis.
[media-credit name=”Roger Coppola ” align=”alignleft” width=”138″][/media-credit] Junior forward James Nunnally contributed 17 points and nine boards in the win, which was the Gauchos’ first in the conference. The team improves to 1-1 in the Big West and 8-5 overall.
“I was pleased with our defensive intensity,” Head Coach Bob Williams said. “[It] wore on them in the second half.”
Senior guards Jordan Weiner and Justin Joyner each had four steals in the backcourt for the Gauchos. With point guard William Brew’s two steals, the backcourt had 10 of the Gauchos 12 steals in the night.
“JJ, Brew and Weiner were just gnats,” Williams said. “That’s the stats we need [to get] to be who we want to be.”
Junior center Greg Somogyi also had an efficient outing for the Gauchos, hitting four of his seven shots and blocking a shot in the paint.
“Samogyi is playing pretty great, I love it,” Brew said. “I love playing with Greg. He can see the court, [he’s got] long arms, and he’s very unselfish.”
Brew was another player who managed to execute on offense for the Gauchos, hitting two of his four three-point attempts. As a team, UCSB shot 48.1 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from behind the arc.
“Everything I shoot now, I feel like is going to go in the hoop,” Brew said. “Getting to the rim was probably a big key [for us tonight.]”
The Aggies dropped to 1-2 in the conference with the loss. Junior forward guard Eddie Miller led Davis with 18 points after hitting eight of his 12 shots from the field.
UCSB will face Pacific on Saturday, who just lost 44-39 to Cal Poly at home. “Coach Thompson will have [the Tigers] ready and ornery,” Williams said.
While Cal Poly is considered one of the weaker teams in the conference, the team had a close outing against #7 San Diego State, which escaped San Luis Obispo with a 51-45 victory on Dec. 13.
“We need to string together [good] efforts,” Williams said, discussing his squad’s tendency to play with inconsistent intensity from game to game this season. “I was pleased with the effort today, but we need to make an even better effort on Saturday.”
The game against Pacific takes place in Stockton at 7 p.m. on Saturday night.