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Junior guard Orlando Johnson scored 27 points — 20 in the second half — against the Pacific on Saturday night, but the Tigers escaped with a 57-54 victory thanks to a three-pointer by Pat Eveland with 0.3 seconds left in regulation.
“Orlando was outstanding, especially in the second half,” Head Coach Bob Williams told UCSB Athletics. “When he started penetrating, he was extremely difficult to stop.”
Williams attributed the loss to the Gauchos’ lack of aggressiveness on the offensive end, claiming the team stopped driving into the lane and pushing the ball inside from the 10-minute mark of the first half to the eight-minute mark of the second half. Senior forward Jon Pastorek was the only other Gaucho besides Johnson to hit double figures, scoring 10 points after hitting four of his five shots from the field.
Johnson scored 11 straight points to put the Gauchos up 54-52. With 54 seconds to play, senior guard Justin Joyner committed a foul against Eveland, who made both free throws to tie the game. Eveland led Pacific with 14 points in the game, including his game-winning buzzer beater.
Pacific only committed eight turnovers compared to UCSB’s 13, which included a traveling violation by senior Jordan Weiner with 26 seconds left to play in regulation that gave the Tigers their last possession.
Junior forward James Nunnally, who leads the Gauchos in scoring, tallied just five points in 33 minutes of play after taking six of his seven shot attempts from behind the arc, making only one. Nunnally still led UCSB with seven rebounds.
The Gauchos continue conference play at the Thunderdome against UC Irvine on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.