Scouting report: UC Santa Barbara
Game info: 7 p.m. Friday at Edmundson Pavilion (10,000 capacity)
TV: ROOT Sports (Kevin Calabro and Francis Williams)
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton)
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Coach: Bob Williams is 222-172 in 14 seasons with the Gauchos.
Prediction: Picked to finish second in the nine-team Big West by media.
Series: Washington leads 2-0.
Last meeting: Washington won 75-55 on Dec. 21, 1982.
Previous game: UCSB beat San Diego 65-61 on Tuesday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Orlando Johnson (right) does it all for the Gauchos. The 6-5 senior guard leads the team with a 22.1 scoring average that ranks sixth in the country. He’s also tops among UCSB players in rebounding and assists. He’s capable of big scoring nights. His career scoring high is 39 points and he posted a season high 36 against then No. 20 UNLV in a 94-88 overtime loss. On Tuesday, he was scoreless in the first half and finished with 12. He’s considered a second-round pick in the 2012 NBA draft. Johnson is the first player in school history named to the John R. Wooden preseason top 50 watch list. He was also named to the Naismith Player of the Year preseason watch list. Johnson was selected to represent the United States as the flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China. He was coached by Washington coach Lorenzo Romar during practice with the USA team. Johnson averaged 7.3 points in eight games and five starts for the gold-medal winning Americans.
— Senior wing James Nunnally teamed with Johnson to form the most prolific scoring back court combination in the Big West last season. He needs 36 points to move into the top 10 on UCSB all-time scoring list. Nunnally has scored at least 14 points in every game this season. He’s taken more three-pointers (33) than anyone on the team and shoots 33.3 percent behind the arc. Nunnally is also second among Gauchos in rebounding. Like Johnson, Nunnally is capable of putting up big numbers offensively. His career high is 34 points.
— Senior forward Jamie Serna is the tallest starter at 6 feet 9. He’s an adequate rebounder and shot blocker, but thrives offensively at getting fouls and making free throws. He’s 21 of 29 at the line. Serna is UCSB’s third scoring option, but he’s limited away from the basket. Serna has not attempted a three-pointer in his college career.
— The Gauchos are ranked No. 14 in the CollegeInsiders.com mid-major poll.
— UCSB began a 12-day, four-game road trip on Tuesday. The Gauchos play at California on Dec. 19 and at BYU on Dec. 22. The team returns home Dec. 23. It’s the longest road trip in the Williams era.
— Sophomore guard Keegan Hornbuckle transferred from Colorado and is playing for the first time after sitting out last season due to NCAA rules.
— UCSB has 45 blocked shots, an average of 6.4 per game. Senior Greg Somogyi, a 7-3 center, is closing in on the No. 2 spot on the school’s all-time career list. He has a team-high 17 blocks, 2.4 per game.
— UCSB won its first four games (Chapman, Santa Clara, Westmont and Portland) by a combined 94 points, 23.5 per game. The last three games have been a different story. The Gauchos lost 76-75 in overtime to San Diego State and 94-88 in double overtime to UNLV. In the last three games, the combined margins of victory (two wins by the opponents and one by the Gauchos) was 11 points, an average of 3.7 per game.
— The Gauchos shoot 71.3 percent at the free throw line. On Tuesday, they converted 12 of 14 FTs.
F – Jaime Serna, 6-9, 235, Sr., 11.6 ppg., 4.9 rpg., 0.9 apg.
G/F – James Nunnally, 6-6, 205, Sr., 18.0, 5.7, 4.6
G – Orlando Johnson. 6-5, 205, Sr., 22.1, 7.1, 3.4
G – Christian Peterson, 6-3, 219, Sr., 2.9, 3.6, 0.9
G – Nate Garth, 6-2, 180, Jr., 3.0, 3.0, 3.3
— Johnson and Nunnally are the key. They account for 51 percent of UCSB’s offense and 32 percent of the team’s rebounding. The Huskies are fortunate they can throw lots of players at them starting with Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox. Those four players will likely decide who wins tonight. Washington also has super-sub Tony Wroten Jr. to provide relief and could rotate Abdul Gaddy off the ball to help slow down either Johnson or Nunnally. It will be interesting to see how the Huskies plan to counter Somogyi, who will be the tallest player on the court. Fortunately for UW he only plays about 12 minutes and hasn’t logged more than 17 this season. Still he’s an intimidating presence beneath the rim.