After upsetting #22 UNLV in Vegas 68-62 on Dec. 15, the Gauchos (7-5 overall) went 2-2 in their remaining games over Winter Break, with wins against Cal Baptist and Fresno Pacific and losses to Long Beach and #7 San Diego State, which remains undefeated in 14 games this season.
Against Long Beach State at the Thunderdome on Dec. 28, the team shot a season-low 33 percent from the field. The loss was its first conference game of the season.
San Diego State, then #10 in the country, was the Gauchos’ highest-ranked opponent since #1 North Carolina visited the Thunderdome in 2008.
UCSB juniors James Nunnally and Orlando Johnson remain the team’s leading scorers, scoring 19.0 and 17.8 per game, respectively. Johnson has struggled offensively as of late, but grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds against UNLV. The Nexus will be running a Big West basketball preview on Wednesday, Jan. 5.
Top-seeded Akron defeated Louisville 1-0 on Dec. 12 at Harder Stadium in front of 9,672 fans from across the country, where UCSB hosted the College Cup. The Zips made the most of their second consecutive finals appearance with a goal in the 79th minute by sophomore midfielder Scott Caldwell. Despite putting up seven shots in the final five minutes of the match, Louisville was unable to convert a goal and dropped its first match of the season, finishing with a 20-1-3 record. Akron finished 22-1-2.