UC Santa Barbara defeats UC Irvine 77-74
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP)—James Nunnally scored 22 points and UC Santa Barbara wrapped up the top seed in the Big West tournament with a 77-74 victory over UC Irvine Wednesday night.
The Gauchos (18-9, 12-4), who have completed their Big West regular-season schedule, clinched a tie with Pacific for the top spot. Santa Barbara swept the Tigers in the regular season. Both teams receive byes into the tournament semifinals in Anaheim, Calif.
Santa Barbara saw an 11-point lead midway through the second half go down to one twice in the final minute. James Powell made two free throws with 14 seconds left to make it 77-74, and UC Irvine’s Eric Wise missed a final 3-point attempt.
Orlando Johnson had 20 points and Powell added 16 for Santa Barbara.
Wise, who made 10 of his 15 shots, finished with 22 points and seven rebounds for the Anteaters (13-17, 5-10). Michael Hunter scored 18.