NCAA Tournament has special place for Gauchos

UCSB men’s basketball is back in the NCAA Tournament.

The Gauchos topped regular-season champ Long Beach State on Saturday in the Big West Conference Tournament final, and pocketed a 64-56 victory that is redeemable for an NCAA Tournament berth.

It’s the first time in school history that the Gauchos have reached the Big Dance in consecutive seasons. UCSB went twice in three years in the late 1980s and will be participating for only the sixth time.

The Gauchos will learn of their first-round opponent on Sunday. The team will gather at the ICA Building on UCSB’s campus to watch the selection show together at 3 p.m.

Tournament MVP Orlando Johnson continued his tear, scoring 18 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. With the game tied 27-27 at halftime, Johnson’s surge helped push the Gauchos back the NCAA tourney for the second straight season.


UCSB won the conference tournament as the fifth seed, topping higher seeds Pacific and Northridge to get to the championship game. Johnson averaged 31 points in those two games and averaged over 28 points per game for the tournament.

UCSB rode that momentum to an early 19-9 lead, but Long Beach settled in and fought back into the game. A 10-0 run gave the 49ers a 26-25 lead before the halftime buzzer sounded with the score locked up at 27-27.

Another 10-0 run, this one in favor of UCSB, gave the Gauchos a nine-point lead half-way through the second half. Long Beach stuck around, but could not get the defecit under five points after that.

Long Beach State finishes its season at 22-11.

UCSB enters the tournament with an 18-13 record after an 8-8 regular season conference record.



  2. GAUCHOFAN says

    Maybe this team can rekindle the spark of the good old days when the thunderdome rocked and brian shaw and carrick de hart and eric macarthur and gary gray and isis jones with pimm as coach went to the ncaa’s and played maryland. before that, of course they beat unlv on an espn big monday game at the ucsb thunderdome where the crowd noise was louder then a big old jet airliner,, GO GAUCHOS!!!