Junior guard Orlando Johnson dropped a career high of 35 points and added 11 rebounds to the Gauchos’ 69-54 win over Fresno State in the team’s home opener on Saturday night.
[media-credit name=”M Coppola” align=”alignleft” width=”222″][/media-credit]“He was sensational,” Head Coach Bob Williams said.
The win brings the Gauchos to 2-2 on the season, but it was also the second game that Johnson has scored more than half his team’s points. He scored 25 in the first half alone, making 13 of his 19 field goal attempts through four quarters and shooting four of the five from behind the arc.
“It was just one of those games when everything felt really good for me,” Johnson said.
Junior forward James Nunnally added 12 points. He tweaked an ankle early in the first half and never quite looked like his normal self, moving slowly on defense and hesitating on more than one occasion on the offensive end. Still, he has averaged over 17 points a game and remains the Gauchos’ second leading scorer.
“[The ankle] seemed to affect him a little bit,” Williams said.
With the exception of one stretch early in the second half, in which Fresno State scored seven unanswered points, the Gauchos succeeded with their zone defense, holding the Bulldogs to 40 percent from the field.
Bulldogs sophomore center Greg Smith — an NBA prospect according to Williams — led his team with 15 points after making seven of his eight field goal attempts. He made five shots in the first half, but UCSB junior center Greg Somogyi held him to only three shot attempts in the second.
UCSB takes on University of Portland on the road in its next game on Nov. 27, and returns home to play Loyola Marymount on Dec. 1.
“It was an unusual night,” Williams said. “We will gradually get on the right page offensively and get more guys involved. We’re not getting production out of other guys that we know we ultimately will. If we’re defending at a high level and rebounding, then we’re pretty good.”
There’s been a lot of commentary on the soccer game overshadowing OJ’s accomplishment. Time to change that. Nice job OJ on a dominant performance and a new record. Here’s hoping to a solid hoops season.