UCSB and UNLV meet tonight in the Thunderdome in a game that harkens back to when both teams were rivals in the Big West Conference. The rivalry was at it height in the late 1980s and early 1990s. UNLV has won 28 of 37 meetings, but the Gauchos have won the last four contests including a 68-62 decision last year in Las Vegas.
This year’s matchup is significant because the stakes seem a little higher as the Rebels (7-0) are ranked No. 18 in the country after their upset win over then-No. 1 North Carolina on Saturday. It would have been a battle of unbeatens if the Gauchos (4-1) had been able to hold on against San Diego State in a 76-75 overtime loss in their last game.
And as if the matchup does not bring back enough memories, UCSB is honoring former head coach Jerry Pimm at halftime as the newest “Legend of the Dome” Former Rebels head coach Jerry Tarkanian has been rumored to be here as well.
GAME OVER – UNLV claims 94-88 victory over UCSB in two overtimes. The No. 18 Rebels improve to 8-0 on the season while UCSB falls to 4-2. PresidioSports.com will have a game story and photos coming later tonight.
28.9 seconds remaining in 2nd OT - Las Vegas is looking good to finally close this one out. Jaime Serna just scored for UCSB, but the Gauchos still trail 92-88 and UNLV has possession after this timeout.
3:12 – And there goes Moser. After Stanback converts 3-point play for UNLV, Orlando Johnson draws a foul on Moser and goes to the line. Moser’s night ends. So no Nunnally for UCSB, and no Moser for Vegas.
3:46 – James Nunnally is going to be upset with the referees after the game. After a questionable call on a charge late in regulation, it just happened again. Nunnally makes his shot attempt but is called for his second charge of the game, which happens to be his fifth foul. Big blow to the Gauchos. Vegas holds 85-84 lead. (VIDEO)
END OF FIRST OVERTIME – James Nunnally is fouled taking a 3-point attempt and makes all three, leaving UNLV 11 seconds. That was enough as the Rebels tied the game on a 3-pointer. UCSB had 1.5 seconds and inbounded to Orlando Johnson near midcourt. Johnson’s super-long three actually hit iron but did not fall. (VIDEO)
40.2 - UNLV sinks 3-pointer to make it a tie game again.
1:15 – UCSB freshman T.J. Taylor nails 3-pointer for UCSB. Orlando Johnson swats away a Vegas shot attempt. 51.7 seconds left. UNLV ball with 24 seconds on the shot clock.
1:55 – Stanback makes both free throws, but James Nunnally sinks a straight-away 3-pointer to bring UCSB back into a tie at 78-78. Not sure how many lead changes and ties there have been so far, but definitely a lot. Bob Williams calls a UCSB timeout immediately following Nunnally’s 3. UNLV ball.
2:13 in OT – The intensity level in the Thunderdome has risen to a fever pitch. UNLV has a slim 76-75 lead and Stanback at the free throw line.
END OF REGULATION – WOW. UCSB fights all the way back to tie at the buzzer and force overtime. After Orlando Johnson makes first free throw, he misses second intentionally. 7-foot-3 Greg Somogyi gets offensive rebound and putback to force OT. (VIDEO)
41.5 seconds – With many in the crowd going for the exits, it’s apparently not over yet. In desperation, UCSB fights back to 69-65. Timeout on the floor.
1:59 – In transition, Moser left alone for wide-open 3-pointer which touches nothing but net. Moser smiles at the UCSB student section. They don’t have much to say to guy with 34 points, 10 rebounds, especially with Vegas holding 10-point lead.
2:30 – UNLV built its biggest lead at 64-57. Two free throws from Johnson brings it to 64-59. Moser picked up his fourth foul on play. Massamba layup makes it 66-59.
3:50 – Mike Moser sinks a 3-pointer from the corner to put UNLV back up by 5 at 62-57. Each time UCSB gets within 2, UNLV has been able to respond. Moser has 31 points, 10 rebounds.
6:00 – Three-point buckets from James Nunnally, then Orlando Johnson have UCSB right back on UNLV’s heels. UCSB trails 57-55. UNLV calls another timeout. The Rebels have two left for the half while UCSB has all four remaining.
7:02 – Anthony Marshall drives to the hoop for a layup to give UNLV a 55-49 lead, which ties their largest lead of the night. The Rebels also led 40-34.
7:50 – UNLV in the lead 53-49. UCSB hanging around but missing too many layups. Moser up to 26 points with 10 rebounds.
12:56 – Another UCSB basket, this one a layup by Jaime Serna, brings the Thunderdome crowd to its feet as UNLV calls a timeout to talk things over. Game tied 40-40.
14:21 – UCSB doesn’t let it get away, sinking two quick baskets to get the crowd back into it. UNLV leads 40-38 but UCSB seems to have momentum.
15:41 - Both teams trading baskets. Moser on fire, having scored 10 points in the first four minutes of second half. UNLV now up 40-34. UCSB turnover triggers official timeout. Moser has 19 points.
18:28 – Moser making a big impact, scoring six quick points for UNLV to start the half, including a follow-up two-handed dunk. UNLV up 33-32.
19:27 - Mike Moser back on the court for Vegas and knocks down 18-footer on UNLV’s first possession of second half. Moser into double figures with 11 points.
MORE HALFTIME – Former UCSB head coach Jerry Pimm just finished speaking to the crowd from midcourt. He acknowledged the community fanbase, “many of you who have been here since 1983,” and the students, along with all the people who make the program go. In tonight’s game, the Gauchos dominated UNLV on second-chance points 12-0 while also out-rebounding the Rebels 24-18. UCSB leads 28-27 despite shooting only 31.3 percent from the floor.
HALFTIME - UCSB takes 28-27 lead into intermission. Orlando Johnson leads all scorers with 12 points while UNLV’s Mike Moser leads the Rebels with nine points. Moser was only on the court for 12 minutes in the first half because of two personal fouls. James Nunnally and Johnson played 18 minutes for UCSB.
1:57 – Vegas is right back in it after 5-0 run capped by Kendall Wallace 3-pointer.
3:02 - Orlando Johnson gives the Gauchos their biggest lead of the game at 27-20 with 3-pointer out of a timeout. UNLV responds with bucket, 27-22.
3:36 - UCSB up 24-20. Scoring has slowed down in the last five minutes with a total of 8 points scored between the two teams combined.
8:02 - Keegan Hornbuckle is in the game making his first appearance for UCSB this season. The 6-foot-7 sophomore is playing the 4 with Greg Somogyi at center. Game tied 18-18.
9:25 – UNLV took a 16-13 lead until Orlando Johnson knocks down a jumper followed by a T.J. Taylor 3-pointer. The 5-0 UCSB run forces UNLV to call a 20-second timeout.
10:33 - After a brief stint on the bench, Orlando Johnson returns to the court and promptly gets fouled in the paint. Making 1-of-2 FTs, UCSB trails 12-11. Now 14-13 UNLV after trading baskets.
13:30 - UNLV strings together a 7-0 run to take a 10-7 lead before James Nunnally knocks down a 3-pointer for the tie. At the next whistle, both teams make first substitutions.
15:44 – Mike Moser scores UNLV’s first five points, but UCSB still has 7-5 lead until Anthony Marshall ties it 7-7 with a layup and a foul. He’ll shoot free throw after official timeout.
17:13 - Jaime Serna is a big dude, but UNLV’s Brice Massamba makes him look small. Orlando Johnson gets first basket to put Gauchos up 5-3.
TIPOFF: Sitting courtside in front of the UCSB student section. This is going to be a loud night. I expect my ears to be ringing at the end of the night. Nate Garth drains 3-pointer on Gauchos’ first possession which doesn’t help the eardrums. Vegas answers with long ball to tie 3-3.
PREGAME WARMUPS: Press row is definitely more crowded that usual, with several radio teams, multiple NBA scouts, and extra media here. The crowd, which could be UCSB’s first sellout since 1998, is filling in with 20 minutes until tipoff.