POSTGAME REACTION: JOE CALLERO | WILL TAYLOR | AMAURYS FERMIN
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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Senior guard Orlando Johnson hit a three-pointer from the right corner with five seconds to play, lifting UC Santa Barbara to a 58-57 victory over Cal Poly in a Big West Conference men's basketball opener Monday night before a sellout crowd of 3,032 in Mott Gym and a regional television audience (KSBY).
Cal Poly, which trailed throughout the second half, grabbed a 56-55 lead on a layup by senior forward David Hanson with 1:41 to go and junior guard Drake U'u made one of two free throws with 18 seconds to play for a 57-55 Mustang advantage.
The visiting Gauchos worked the ball to Johnson on the right baseline and he hit the 21-footer to give UCSB the lead once again. Cal Poly called timeout near midcourt with 2.3 seconds to play, but Hanson missed a three-pointer at the buzzer as the Gauchos won in Mott Gym by a single point for the second year in a row.
With the loss, Cal Poly falls to 9-5 on the year and 0-1 in Big West games. UC Santa Barbara improves to 6-5 overall and 1-0 in conference contests.
UC Santa Barbara's balanced scoring attack was paced by freshman forward Alan Williams off the bench with 13 points. Johnson, senior forward James Nunnally and junior guard Nate Garth all added 12 points for the Gauchos.
Cal Poly senior center Will Taylor (pictured at right) produced his fourth double-double of the year with game highs for points (17) and rebounds (11). Senior guard Amaurys Fermin added 11 points.
Cal Poly outrebounded UC Santa Barbara 36-34 -- Williams had 10 for the Gauchos -- and turned the ball over a season-low six times, including just one miscue in the second half. The Gauchos committed 11 turnovers.
The Mustangs, however, couldn't convert at the free throw line, sinking just 13 of 24 charity shots. UC Santa Barbara made eight of 14 from the line.
From the floor, Cal Poly made only 38 percent (20 of 53), including four of 18 from three-point range. The Gauchos connected on 44 percent of their field goal attempts (eight of 20 treys).
Cal Poly jumped to a 9-2 lead in the opening three minutes -- Fermin capping the early run with a three-pointer with 16:51 to go. UCSB steadily whittled down the deficit and opened up a 27-20 advantage on a three-pointer by Garth with three minutes to go prior to the break.
The Gauchos settled for a 29-22 lead at intermission and opened up a 13-point cushion at 40-27 with 15:19 to play on another three-pointer by Garth.
Cal Poly went on a 12-3 run midway through the second half to trim UCSB's advantage to three points, 46-43, with 8:45 to go and grabbed its first lead of the second half on Hanson's layup with 1:41 to go which capped an 8-1 Mustang run.
UCSB missed its next three floor shots and Cal Poly missed three of four free throws before Johnson's three-pointer gave the Gauchos the winning points.
The sellout crowd was Cal Poly's first since the Feb.27, 2010 game, also against UC Santa Barbara, won by the Mustangs 60-57. The Gauchos have won eight of their last nine games against Cal Poly.
Cal Poly returns to action Thursday night at Long Beach State and will host Cal State Fullerton on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. inside Mott Gym.
Three-Pointer Lifts UCSB Men's Basketball Over Cal Poly, 58-57
|UC Santa Barbara (6-5 (1-0 BWC))||29||29||58|
|Cal Poly (9-5 (0-1 BWC))||22||35||57|