Gauchos rout UC Davis, get No. 3 seed in Big West tourney

The seniors provided plenty thunder in their final game at the Thunderdome on Saturday night.

James Nunnally scored 21 points and Orlando Johnson added 20, and UCSB blew out UC Davis 90-43 in the Big West regular season finale. The 47-point margin of victory was the largest for the Gauchos in a game since December 29, 1971 when they beat Chicago State, 108-56.

“I was glad that our seniors were able to go out with a win,” said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. “Sometimes on Senior Night, the guys can be a little keyed-up and it hurts them. Tonight, I thought their energy really carried the day. They have been practicing so well and that is really starting to show in games.”

The Gauchos (18-9, 12-4) move on to the Big West Tournament, where they’ll be the No. 3 seed and play sixth-seeded Pacific on Thursday at noon at the Honda Center in Anaheim. UCSB finished in a tie for second place with Cal State Fullerton, which handed Long Beach State its first league loss to earn the No. 2 seed in the tournament.

Nunnally’s first basket of the night was a three-pointer with 11:17 remaining in the first half and it put him over the 1,600 point mark. He is just the fifth Gaucho to achieve the mark. By the end of the first half, he had passed Chris Devine and moved into fourth on the school’s all-time scoring list. Nunnally now has 1,619 career points.

“This was a great night,” Nunnally said. “I got to play in front of so many friends and family. We’ve done a lot of good things in our time here together and hopefully we can do some more.”

UCSB broke the game open in the first half with a 29-2 run that buried the Aggies.

All five seniors started the game, but freshman Alan Williams stole some of the spotlight. Williams came off the bench and scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Sophomore Kyle Boswell also provided a spark by scoring 14 points and hitting four three-pointers. As a team, UCSB shot 54 percent from three-point range, making 13 shots.

The Gauchos will head into the postseason with plenty of momentum. They have won six of their last seven games.