Gauchos pull away from Warriors behind big nights from Johnson, Boswell

Even though a short stretch of the 101 freeway connects UCSB and Westmont, the Gauchos and Warriors were miles apart after a 82-61 rout by UCSB at the Thunderdome.

Despite the lopsided final score, the Warriors kept the game competitive into the second half, and even led by six points with 18:05 left to play in the game.

Orlando Johnson led the Gauchos with 20 points and 12 rebounds, 10 of which came on the offensive end of the floor.  Johnson also led his team in assists with three, and steals with four.

Santa Barbara also received an excellent spark off the bench from Kyle Boswell who had 15 points and hit 3-of-5 three-point shots to bring his season percentage to 59 percent from behind the arc.  James Nunnally added 16 more points and 8 more rebounds.

The Warriors relied on Jordan Sachs for scoring and he responded.   He had 25 points and seven rebounds, by far his best outing of the young season.

The Gauchos started the game well, drawing two early fouls and getting a three-pointer from Orlando Johnson to jump to a 7-0 lead.

Westmont hung around and capitalized on Santa Barbara’s seven first half turnovers and lackadaisical transition defense.

The Gauchos were never able to put the Warriors out of striking range, and late in the half Sachs took advantage of subpar effort on defense.  He blew by the jogging UCSB defenders for a dunk, then hit a three-pointer on the next possession to put Westmont up by one while giving his team its first lead of the game with 3:55 to play in the first half.

“He is a born scorer,” Westmont head coach John Moore said.  “This is a game where I think Jordan is very, very capable of finding his way into scoring situations, and sure enough we saw that.”

An irate Bob Williams, the Santa Barbara head coach, took a timeout and subbed out four of the five players on the floor.

“It’s pretty simple.  Get back,” Williams said.  “It’s not real complicated.  We were hanging our head because we missed a shot.  We were very into ourselves versus into the game.”

The Gauchos were able to take a two point lead into half with the score at 33-31, but the Warriors came out energized and aggressive to start the second half.

Three pointers from Christopher Miller and Anthony Lipold in addition to a layup by Sachs contributed to an 8-0 run by the Warriors.

The burst of offense led to a six point lead, which would be Westmont’s largest of the game.

The Gauchos settled down and started to feed Orlando Johnson on the low block and chipped away at the Warrior lead.  Johnson’s physical second half play gave Santa Barbara energy on the glass and on defense.

“When OJ’s trying to bang down low and gets a few good offensive rebounds and some putbacks, basically, it gets us going on defense,” Boswell said.  “He’s being physical, I’m going to be physical and help him, and basically get more aggressive, and that’s what we did.”

After being out-rebounded by Westmont 20-17 in the first half, the Gauchos grabbed 28 boards in the second half compared to just 14 for Westmont.  Johnson pulled down eight of those rebounds, with seven of them coming on the offensive end.

Physical play inside from Johnson and senior center Jaime Serna created space on the perimeter for the Gaucho guards.  No one took advantage of that space more than Boswell.  After going 0-2 from the field in the first half, the sophomore went 5-7 in the second half, including three big three-pointers that helped the Gauchos bury the scrappy Warriors.

The Warriors dropped to 2-2 on the season and play tomorrow at home against St. Thomas.

The Gauchos remain undefeated at 3-0 and play at home against Portland on Tuesday.  Santa Barbara will look to avenge an ugly 75-63 loss at Portland last season.