The UCSB men’s basketball team lost two of its three games at Oregon’s BTI tournament to open its regular season, beating Denver 65-49 on Friday night but losing 68-60 to North Dakota State on Saturday and 72-70 against Oregon in a nail-biter on Sunday.
[media-credit name=”Daniel Wade” align=”alignleft” width=”144″][/media-credit] In the tournament, the junior duo of guard Orlando Johnson and forward James Nunnally combined for 126 of the team’s 195 points.
“We really were a two-man show offensively,” Head Coach Bob Williams said. “If we [have] six other guys all average five, we’re going to be a pretty tough team to beat.”
The O-James duo combined for 52 of the team’s 70 points on Sunday night against the Ducks in a game that came down to a Gaucho out-of-bounds play in the final seconds of regulation. Johnson received the inbounds pass and got to the rim after taking a screen from Nunnally, but was unable to finish.
“You’re never pleased with calls you get late in games,” Williams said, referring to the no-call on Johnson’s drive to the basket. “I don’t want to blame officials in games. We’ve got to be tough and play through it.
“We got what we wanted — our best player going to the rim with the ball. [I] just wish the result had been different.”
Williams was impressed with the play of freshmen guards Troy Leaf and Kyle Boswell, who filled in for junior guard Will Brew after he sustained a deep cut above his eye. Boswell made all three of his shots in the game — including two from behind the arc.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to see Boswell in for more minutes,” Williams said.
UCSB returns to Santa Barbara for its home season opener on Saturday night at 7 p.m. against Fresno State. Williams expects Brew to be back in the lineup, hoping he will provide the defensive pressure missing from the team’s defense against Oregon.
“It’ll be good to have tomorrow off,” he said. “We’ve learned a lot up here on this trip.”