Although the 2011 NCAA Tournament does not include any Bay Area teams, the first day of first round action (we’ll call the play-in games “opening round” action) saw six schools hit the court with Northern California natives on their teams. UC-Santa Barbara lead the way with five players (one late addition down near Monterey), followed by UCLA, San Diego State, Princeton, Louisville, and Bucknell.
UC-Santa Barbara vs. Florida – This game featured five Northern California players on the UCSB Gauchos roster. The Gauchos took a beating at the hands of the Gators but they managed to receive some strong contributions from their Northern California players. UCSB’s top two scorers were Orlando Johnson from Seaside (near Monterey) and James Nunnally from Stockton. Johnson had 21 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists, while Nunnally finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 assist. Other NorCal performances:
UCLA vs. Michigan State – The Bruins escaped a near collapse in defeating the Spartans 78-76. The Bruins received solid contributions from their two NorCal players, Brendan Lane (Rocklin) and Reeves Nelson (Modesto). Lane finished the game with 8 points, 4 rebounds and 1 block. Nelson finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and an assist. Additionally, Nelson made the free throw that proved to be the difference-maker for UCLA. His free throw made the score 77-73 and the Spartans never got past 76 points. UCLA advances to face Florida in the second round on Saturday.
San Diego State vs. Northern Colorado – Chase Tapley of Sacramento had a strong showing in San Diego State’s 68-50 rout of Northern Colorado. Tapley finished with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. The Aztecs advance to face Temple in the second round on Saturday
Princeton vs. Kentucky – The Tigers lost on a last second shot as their upset bid came up just short. Guard Dan Mavraides of San Mateo led Princeton with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals.
Louisville vs. Morehead State – The Cardinals were stunned 62-61 by the Eagles on a late three. Forward Terrence Jennings of Sacramento finished the game with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and 4 blocks. A late foul by Jennings put Kenneth Faried on the free throw line, allowing the Eagles to cut the Cardinals lead to two. Demonte Harper followed that up with the game-winning three.
Bucknell vs. Connecticut – The Bucknell Bison struggled in a blowout defeat at the hands of the UConn Huskies. The lone Bay Area player, forward Enoch Andoh of San Jose, had two points and a rebound in the loss.