March 3, 2012
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Freshman J.T. Adenrele tied his career-high with 16 points and had a career-best seven rebounds to lead UC Davis but UC Santa Barbara, keyed by four first-half three-pointers from James Nunnally, used a 29-2 run to break open the game early en route to a 90-43 Big West Conference men's basketball win at The Thunderdome on Saturday night.
UC Davis finished the regular season with a 5-25 record and a 3-13 mark in the Big West. The Aggies will now turn their attention to next week's Big West Tournament where they'll enter as the No. 8 seed and face top-seeded Long Beach State (22-8, 15-1) on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Honda Center.
Senior Eddie Miller added 15 points for the Aggies including 11 in the second half.
Nunnally, one of five UCSB seniors in their final home game, hit five three-pointers and scored a game-high 21 points for the Gauchos who improved to 18-9 overall and 12-4 in the Big West. Senior Orlando Johnson added 20 points, Alan Williams finished with 17 and Kyle Boswell scored 14. UCSB made 13 of 24 three-pointers in the game.
"(UCSB) is a team that is older, experiencedand playing at a high level heading into the tournament," said Les. "They got off to a hot start. I'm not sure if it was because of us or because of them or maybe a combination of both but that was a good basketball team tonight that I'm not sure our best effort would've got it done."
The Gauchos will enter the Big West Tournament as two-time defending champions. They'll be the No. 3 seed and face No. 6 Pacific at noon. Second-seeded Cal State Fullerton will face No. 7 seed UC Irvine at approximately 2:30 p.m. while No. 4 Cal Poly and No. 5 UC Riverside will square off after the Aggies and the 49ers.
UC Davis will be making its first appearance in the Big West Tournament since 2010.
Saturday's game against UCSB gave UC Davis its second consecutive loss. The Gauchos led 47-21 at halftime despite the game being close in the opening minutes. Adenrele, coming off a career-high 16 points at Cal Poly on Thursday, scored the Aggies' first six points and eight of their first 11 as UC Davis countered two early three-pointers from Johnson to only trail 14-11 afer six minutes.
But UCSB then turned on the offense, putting together a 29-2 run over the next eight minutes to break open the game and lead 43-13. Nunnally was a huge catalyst during the surge, making three consecutive treys over a 90-second span that made it 32-13. He added another less than two minutes later and Boswell added another to help the Gauchos continue the outburst.
Adenrele made a pair of free throws to end a nearly seven-minute scoring drought for UC Davis and then Miller banked in a short jumper for the Aggies' first basket in seven minutes. UCSB shot 53.3 percent (16 of 30) in the first half, including 53.8 percent (7 of 13) from three-point, while UC Davis made just 23.1 percent (6 of 26).
Adenrele had 10 points in the first half for UC Davis while Nunnally had 14 and Johnson scored 12 for the Gauchos who also committed just three turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
Johnson and Nunnally had back-to-back treys to start the second half for UCSB which continue to build its lead. Miller and Adenrele were bright spots for UC Davis after halftime. Miller had 11 points after the break, including seven straight during the middle portion of the half. Adenrele had six points in the second half.
The Aggies committed 20 turnovers in the game, resulting in 32 Gauchos points, while UCSB had just nine miscues. The Gauchos also held a 42-29 rebounding advantage, getting a game-high nine from Williams. Adenrele's seven rebounds led UC Davis.