Santa Barbara vs Long Beach State

Big West: UC Santa Barbara earns crown, NCAA bid


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- All it took was one brief halftime conversation between UC Santa Barbara coach Bob Williams and senior guard Orlando Johnson.

The fifth-seeded Gauchos had blown a 10-point lead in the first half of the Big West tournament championship against Long Beach State on Saturday night and Johnson had only five points in the first 20 minutes.

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"Coach asked me, 'Could you make a shot?"' Johnson recalled.

He promised Williams he would.

Johnson scored 18 of his 23 points after halftime and the Gauchos beat the 49ers 64-56 to win the Big West crown and earn their second straight trip to the NCAAs.

Fourth-seeded Santa Barbara (18-13) also beat Long Beach State (22-11) in last year's conference tournament final.

"If you would have guessed two weeks ago that we would have been here ... I don't think you would have found two people in Southern California to go along with that," Williams said.

Two weeks ago, the Gauchos were feeling the sting of an 18-point loss to Long Beach State. The Gauchos made several adjustments on defense and haven't lost since.

"Defensively, they went back to basics," Long Beach State coach Dan Monson said. "It was almost all man-to-man. You have to give them credit for a team that played three months of zone."

Casper Ware scored 14 points for the 49ers, who shot just under 29 percent (19 for 66).

Santa Barbara became the first No. 5 seed to win the Big West tournament. The last time a team seeded as low won the crown was in 1996, when sixth-seed San Jose State beat Utah State.

Long Beach State fell behind by 10 in the first half before clawing back to tie it at 27 at halftime. Santa Barbara took control with a 14-4 run midway through the second half.

The 49ers pulled within six points in the closing minutes, but a 3-pointer by Jon Pastorek with a second left on the shot clock and pair of free throws by James Nunnally gave the Gauchos a 61-50 lead with 1:19 left.

The Gauchos, who fell to Ohio State in the opening round of the NCAAs last year, lost six of 10 games entering the conference tournament.

"I think last year a lot of us were happy to be there and be in the tournament," Johnson said after picking up his second consecutive tournament MVP award. "I think this year we have a veteran group. We've seen what the tournament is like and we've seen what can happen in a tournament."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Santa Barbara (18-13) «273764
Long Beach State (22-11)272956
UCSB:O. Johnson 23 Pts
UCSB:J. Pastorek 12 Reb
UCSB:J. Joyner 4 Ast
LBST:C. Ware 14 Pts
LBST:L. Anderson 12 Reb
LBST:L. Anderson 2 Ast

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Santa BarbaraLong Beach State
Orlando Johnson
Larry Anderson
Santa Barbara Gauchos
J. Pastorek, F352-30-012335
J. Serna, F297-90-081514
J. Joyner, G401-40-26443
O. Johnson, G388-194-913123
J. Nunnally, G325-122-372312
G. Somogyi102-30-00034
J. Weiner101-10-00103
T. Leaf30-00-01000
W. Brew20-10-01010
L. Devenny10-00-00000
Totals 26-526-1439142064
Long Beach State 49ers
T. Robinson, F363-123-612029
E. Phelps, F312-84-69038
L. Anderson, G384-123-6122411
G. Plater, G383-82-201110
C. Ware, G375-172-232414
E. Dervisevic121-30-12122
B. Nevens71-50-24002
C. Jackson10-10-00010
J. King00-00-00000
Totals 19-6614-254761756
Big West
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
UC Davis0-07-226
Cal Poly0-04-6206
UC Irvine0-04-8201
UC Riverside0-03-6258
CSNorthridge 0-01-8349
Other games
CLEM 87 Final
NC 92
Kentucky 72 Final
Alabama 58
Michigan 61 Final
Ohio St 68
VT 63 Final
RICH 58 Final
Temple 54
VANDY 66 Final
Florida 77
Texas 73 Final
Kansas 85
Wash 77 Final
Arizona 75
SDSU 72 Final
BYU 54
UConn 69 Final
Louisville 66
Boise St 69 Final
Utah St 77