The UCSB Men's basketball team defeated the Long Beach State 49ers to win the Big West Conference Tournament in Anaheim, and earned a berth into the NCAA playoffs. The Gauchos (20 - 9) were led by tournament Most Valuable Player Orlando Johnson's 20 points, followed by James Nunnally with 19, and Jaime Serna's eleven. Jaime Serna and Nunnally shared the team high in rebounds with six, while Johnson led the Gauchos with four assists.
The third-seeded 49ers (17 - 16) overcame a 35 - 30 first-half deficit to take a 53 - 52 lead in the second half, on the strength of balanced scoring from Casper Ware, TJ Robinson, Greg Plater, and Larry Anderson who scored 19, 15, 14, and 11 points, respectively. Robinson led the 49ers with eight rebounds and Plater dished out five assists. However, the 49ers could not hold the lead, as Nunnally hit a key 3-pointer to up the Gaucho lead to 53 - 49 with 1:43 left. Johnson, Powell and Nunnally all hit key free throws to clinch the game and the Big West Tournament championship.
The Gauchos earn the automatic bid into the NCAA playoffs as the Big West Conference representative.