Gauchos Take 2-Game Winning Streak to Cal State Northridge Thursday

T.J. Taylor (Photo by Tony Mastres)

Game No. 19
Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. 
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal State Northridge Matadors

at Northridge's Matadome
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: BigWest.org
Livestats: UCSBgauchos.com

Game No. 20
Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. 
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal State Fullerton Titans

at Fullerton's Titan Gymnasium
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
TV: ESPNU
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com

• Talk'n Gauchos
UCSB Athletics' weekly radio show, Talk'n Gauchos, airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1290 KZSB or online at UCSBgauchos.com. The show is broadcast live from The Beachside Café, located on Goleta Beach and it features UCSB coaches and athletes.  Hosted by Gerry Fall, the voice of the Gauchos,  and Matt Hurst.

• UCSB Off To Good Start On Road Stretch, Travel South For Next Two
UC Santa Barbara is in the midst of a stretch that will see it play seven out of eight games on the road.  The Gauchos are off to a 2-0 start win wins at UC Davis and Pacific.  This week, they will travel south to begin the second half of league play with games at Cal State Northridge on Thursday and Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.  Saturday's game at Fullerton will be televised on ESPNU and will have an early tip-off time of 6:00 p.m.  Following the game against the Titans, UCSB will return home for one contest (Feb. 11 vs. UC Riverside) before going on the road for three more (Feb. 15 at UC Irvine, Feb. 18 at Utah State and Feb. 22 at Long Beach State).

• Gauchos Travel To Utah State For Sears BracketBuster Game
UCSB will travel to play former Big West Conference rival Utah State in Logan, Utah, on Feb. 18 in a Sears BracketBuster game.  The announcement of the match-ups was made on Monday, Jan. 30.  The Gauchos-Aggies tilt will not be televised.  Utah State was a longtime member of the Big West before jumping to the Western Athletic Conference.  The teams also met in a BracketBuster game in 2008 with the Aggies posting a 72-59 victory.  2012 marks the eighth year that UCSB has played in the BracketBuster series.

• The Gaucho Record
UCSB is 11-7 overall and 6-2 in the Big West Conference, all alone in second-place.  The Gauchos swept a pair of conference road games last weekend, winning at UC Davis on Jan. 26 by a score of 86-59 and at Pacific on Jan. 28, 56-53.  They have now won four of their last five games with the only loss coming on Jan. 21 to league-leading Long Beach State.  Since opening the year with a 4-0 record, UCSB has gone 7-7, but in addition to the loss against Long Beach, two of the defeats (San Diego State and UC Riverside) came in overtime, one came in double overtime (UNLV), three others came on the road at Cal, BYU and Washington.       

• Serna Named Big West Player Of The Week 
Senior forward Jaimé Serna was named Big West Player of the Week after leading the Gauchos to last weekend's wins at UC Davis and Pacific.  In the win at Davis, Serna had 18 points, five rebounds, one assist and one blocked shots.  Most impressively, he made 9-of-10 field goal attempts, his best performance ever and the best by any UCSB player since Mike Vukovich went 12-for-12 in a 2001 game.  On Saturday at Pacific, Serna had 15 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.  It was his second double-double of the season.  In the game against the Tigers, he scored 13 of his 18 points and grabbed seven of his 12 rebounds in the second half.  He also made 7-of-8 free throws in the game.  Serna is the second Gaucho player to earn Big West Player of the Week honors this season.  Orlando Johnson was recognized the first week in December.

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
F 0 Jaimé Serna - Big West Player of the Week averaged 16.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg in last week's wins.
G 11 T.J. Taylor - Last two games have been his first two career starts.
F 15 Alan Williams - Has claimed team-lead in rebounding at 6.4 rebounds per game.
G 21 James Nunnally - Scored in double-figures in 17 out of 18 games.
G 33 Orlando Johnson- Has 1,562 career points at UCSB, fifth all-time.

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G 1   Nate Garth - Has had two or more assists in four of the last five games.
F 5 Keegan Hornbuckle- Despite limited playing time, leads team in steals with 18. 
G 10 Kyle Boswell- Has six three-point baskets in the last two games.
F 12 Lewis Thomas - Logged nine minutes at UC Davis, DNP at Pacific.
F 24 Christian Peterson - Played a season-low two minutes at Pacific.
C 55  Greg Somogyi - Totaled just 15 minutes in the last two games.

• The Opponents
The Gauchos and Cal State Northridge have played 43 times in a series that dates back to 1959.  With its 69-61 win on Jan. 12, UCSB has won two straight in the series and now holds a 29-14 all-time advantage.  Last season, Northridge swept the two regular season games between the teams, but the Gauchos won a semifinal game at the Big West Tournament.  The Matadors won the game in the Valley by a score of 68-60.  UCSB and Cal State Fullerton have played 73 times since the series began in 1977.  Santa Barbara holds a 40-33 advantage all-time, including a 77-64 win at the Thundedome on Jan. 5.  Last year, the teams split regular season games with the Titans winning on their home court, 63-58.  

• Roadies 
UCSB is 4-4 in road games in 2011-12, including 3-1 in Big West games.  After winning at San Diego on Dec. 13, the Gauchos fell in three straight road encounters.  They lost at Washington, Cal and BYU, but have won two straight and three of their last four.  They won their league opener on Jan. 2, edging Cal Poly, 58-57.  After losing in overtime at UC Riverside on Jan. 12, UCSB won at UC Davis on Jan. 26, 86-59 and at Pacific on Jan. 28, 56-53.  The win at Davis represents the Gauchos biggest road margin of the season.

• Johnson Becomes Fifth Gaucho Over 1,500 Points, And He's Still Going...
In Saturday night's win at Pacific, Orlando Johnson scored 13 points and  he has now scored 1,562 in his time at UCSB.  Johnson, a two-time Big West Tournament Most Valuable Player and the 2010 Big West Player of the Year, is consistently moving up the school's all-time scoring list.  In a Jan. 19 win over Cal State Northridge, he became the fifth player in school history to score more than 1,500 points and he could threaten the school's record for career points.  Currently, Alex Harris holds the record with 1,696 points.  Johnson's next two targets on the list are Mark Hull, who finished his career with 1,580 points, and Chris Devine, who completed his career with 1,607 points. 

• Nunnally Joins Johnson In Hitting Milestone
Orlando Johnson's climb up the school's all-time scoring list is not a lonely one.  Senior James Nunnally continues to ascend UCSB's list as well.  With 11 points in the team's win at Pacific, Nunnally has now poured in 1,458 points, the sixth most in school history.  Nunnally's next target is Johnson, who could prove to be elusive, but with several games remaining in his college career he can legitimately take aim at several others.

• Playing The Percentages: A Return To Normalcy
Through its first five games in Big West play, UCSB did not allow its opponents to shoot better than 37.7%.  At the same time, the Gauchos never shot below 36.4%.  In a Jan. 21 loss to Long Beach State, things turned totally upside-down as the 49ers shot 58.7%, the highest mark by an opponent this season, and UCSB shot just 35.1%, a season-low.  In last weekend's games at UC Davis and Pacific, things returned to normal, particularly on the defensive end.  Against UC Davis, the Gauchos made 35-of-64 shots overall, 54.7%, their highest mark since the Nov. 11 season opener against Chapman when they made 58.0%.  On the other end, UCSB limited the Aggies to 37.5% shooting.  In the second game of the trip, a win at Pacific, the Gauchos shot a season-low 33.3%, but they held the Tigers to a mere 15-of-48 from the field, 31.3%, the lowest mark by an opponent this season.  Pacific was the 12th opponent to shoot below 40.0% this season, including the seventh in the last eight games.

• For Starters, Variety Is The Spice Of Life
Through the first nine games this season, UCSB's starting lineup joined death and taxes on the list of things that are automatic.  In the first nine, the Gauchos started Orlando Johnson, James Nunnally, Jaimé Serna, Nate Garth and Christian Peterson.  Beginning with game No. 10 things went haywire.  If you include game No. 9, which included the original starting five, UCSB has started seven different lineups in the last 10 games.  Over that span, only two lineups have started more than once.  One of those two lineups has started each of the last two games and includes Johnson, Nunnally, Serna, Alan Williams and T.J. Taylor Finally, If you don't include freshman John Green, who broke a bone in his foot in the first regular season game, all 11 Gaucho players have started at least one game this season.  

• A Free Throw Surge
For much of the year, UCSB has had issues with its free throw shooting, but in the last four games, three of which have been victories, the free throw shooting has been better.  In the win at Pacific on Jan. 28, the Gauchos made 16-of-18, and needed every one of them, for a season-best 88.9%.  While they are shooting a modest 69.9% on the season, they have made 84.4% in the last four games.  

• UCSB Takes Aim At School Blocks Record
Despite blocking a season-low one shot in their Jan. 28 win at Pacific, the Gauchos are well on their way to breaking the school record for blocked shots in a season.  Through 18 games, UCSB has 104 blocked shots, an average of 5.8 per game, first in the Big West.  The school record was set by last year's Gauchos and stands at 133.  With at least 10 games remaining, Santa Barbara would need to average just three per game to set a new standard.  Senior Greg Somogyi, who ranks second in school history with 168 blocks, leads the way this year with 31.  Somogyi, however, is getting a run for his money from freshman Alan Williams who has 26 swats, including 20 in eight Big West games.  Jaimé Serna (19) and Orlando Johnson (18) are also in double-figures.

• Johnson Makes His Points
Orlando Johnson, who was recently named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top-25 List, now leads the Gauchos in two major statistical categories.  He paces the team in scoring (19.3 points per game) and assists (312 per game).  Until the Jan. 26 game at UC Davis, he led the team in rebounding as well.  Now, with freshman Alan Williams emerging, Johnson is tied for second in boards at 5.9 per game.  While he has dropped out of the rebounding lead, Johnson is still bidding to become the first UCSB player since Brian Shaw to lead the team in those three categories.  Shaw turned the trick in 1987-88.  Johnson has led the Gauchos in scoring in six of the last seven games and 12 times this season.  In the last game, at Pacific, he scored just 13 points and attempted a mere 10 shots, his second lowest total of the season.  In fact, he scored three points in the second half, all from the free throw line.  Johnson has scored in double-figures 17 times in 18 games and 78 times in 80 games during his career.  He's scored 20 or more 11 times this season and a record 40 times in his career.  Most recently, Johnson tallied 21 points on Jan. 26 at UC Davis.  Against the Aggies, he also had a season-high six assist and four three-point baskets. Johnson tallied a season-high 36 points to go along with 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and a pair of blocked shots in UCSB's double-overtime loss to 14th-ranked UNLV on Nov. 30.  The 36 points were his second highest total ever and the double-double was one of four that he has recorded this season.  In addition to UNLV, he had double-doubles against Washington (24 points and 10 rebounds), Portland (26 points and 12 rebounds) and Westmont College (20 points and 12 rebounds).   The 13 points that Johnson scored in the Gauchos' last game pushed his UCSB career total to 1,562.  When he passed the 1,500 point mark, he became just the fifth player in school history to do so.  Johnson needs 21 more to move into fourth all-time.  If the 383 points that Johnson scored as a freshman at Loyola Marymount are factored in, he has now tallied 1,945 in his collegiate career.  Among every thing else, he leads the team in three-point baskets with 37 and now has 149 in his career, 10th in school history.  

• The Flying Nunnally
After playing a season-low 23 minutes in back-to-back games, senior James Nunnally logged 37 in the Gauchos' win at Pacific.  Nunnally didn't have a great shooting night - he made 5-of-14 overall and 1-of-6 from three-point range - but he did score 11 points and grab seven rebounds.   He is currently in a bit of an offensive lull.  In the last three games, Nunnally has scored 27 points, 9.0 per game, while making 10-of-29 shots from the field, 34.5%.  He has now been in double-figures 17 times in 18 games and 21 of 23 dating to last season.  Nunnally remains second on the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game.  He is tied for second in rebounding at 5.9 per game.  He has scored 20 or more points four times this season, including a season-high 24 points on Nov. 15 against Santa Clara.  Also, in scoring 11 in the last game, he continued to inch up UCSB's list for career points with 1,458.  He was the ninth player in school history to exceed 1,400 points and now, with 1,458, ranks sixth all-time.  Nunnally will almost undoubtedly become the sixth player in school history to hit the 1,500 point mark.  With seven rebounds at Pafcific, Nunnally has had five or more 14 times and he had a season-high nine on Jan. 14 against UC Irvine.  He is also distributing the ball these days.  He is averaging 2.4 assists per game and has had two or more 13 times, including the last 11 games in a row.  Finally, with 154 career three-pointers, he ranks eighth on UCSB's career list.

• A DisSERNAble Difference
With the exception of last year's Big West Tournament run, Jaimé Serna had his best weekend as a Gaucho last week.  On Jan. 26 at UC Davis, Serna scored 18 points, but he did so by making 9-of-10 shots, his best shooting performance as a Gaucho and the best by any UCSB player since Mike Vukovich was a perfect 12-for-12 in a win at Pacific on Feb. 3, 2001.  The 18 points were one fewer than Serna had scored in his five previous Big West games.  He also had five rebounds and a blocked shot.  On Jan. 28 at Pacific, he scored 15 points and collected a career-high 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.  Serna made 4-of-7 shots from the field, but also 7-of-8 from the free throw line.  For his efforts, he was named Big West Player of the Week for the first time in his career.  Serna is third on the team in scoring at 9.4 points per game and fourth in rebounding at 4.8 per game.  He is also third in blocked shots with 19.  By making 13-of-17 shots in last weekend's wins, he is now shooting a sparkling 67.4% from the field for the season.  In his career, Serna has made 297 out of 526 shots, 56.5%, the third highest percentage in school history.  Also, he now has 792 career points and needs just eight to hit the 800 point mark.  Finally, with 19 blocked shots this season, he now has 75 in his career, eighth in school history.

• Not The Other Williams For Long
Although limited to 18 minutes because of foul trouble, freshman forward Alan "Don't Call Me Bob" Williams, still contributed nine rebounds in the Gauchos' win at Pacific on Jan. 28.  Williams has started seven straight games and he has responded in a big way, averaging 8.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots per game over that span.  On Jan. 26 at UC Davis, Williams had, arguably, his best all-around game.  He scored 14 points, collected 12 rebounds, blocked five shots, had one steal and an assist.  The 14 points were a career-high, the five blocked shots tied his career-high and the school record for blocks in a game by a freshman, and the 12 rebounds were one short of his high.  Williams now has two double-doubles on the season.  He has been in double-figures in rebounds four times, all in the last eight games, and he has scored 10 or more three times, also in the last eight games.  While he is averaging a team-leading 6.4 rebounds per game overall, that figure is at 9.1 per game in league games, second in the Big West.  Williams' first double-double came in a Jan. 2 win at Cal Poly when he had 13 points and 10 rebounds.  Despite averaging just 14.6 minutes per game, he has had five or more rebounds in 11 out of his 17 appearances.  Williams had a career-high 13 rebounds, to go along with nine points and four blocked shots, in UCSB's Jan. 14 win over UC Irvine.  In the team's Jan. 12 overtime loss at UC Riverside, he had nine points, 11 rebounds and his first five blocked shot performance, tying Greg Somogyi's record for blocks by a freshman.  Overall, he now has 26 blocked shots on the season, third on UCSB's all-time freshman list and he is within 13 of Doug Muse's record of 26.  Williams is also on or verging on two other freshman top-10 lists, including field goal percentage (52.1%, 7th) and rebounds (108 and needs six to move into 10th).

• Who's The Bos?
Guard Kyle Boswell scored eight points in UCSB's 56-53 win at Pacific on Jan. 28, but it was his final three points that were the key to victory.  With less than a minute to play, the Tigers tied the score for the first time in the game on a three-point basket.  With 29 seconds left, Boswell answered with his second three of the game to put the Gauchcos up for good.  One game earlier, on Jan. 26 at UC Davis, he scored 12 points and made a career-high four three-point baskets.  The 12 points were his high since he scored a career-high 15 on Nov. 18 vs. Westmont.  Boswell was 4-for-8 from three-point range against the Aggies.  He remains fourth on the team at 7.2 points per game.  He is second on the team in three-point field goals with 30 and percentage at 38.0%.  Boswell has made at least one three-pointer in 12 straight and 17 times in 18 games.  He has two or more nine times and three or more four times.  Also, in the win at UC Davis, he had three rebounds, one short of his career-high and the most he has collected since he also had three on Dec. 22 at BYU. 

• Tall Tales
Greg Somogyi played just six minutes in UCSB's Jan. 28 win at Pacific and just nine in the Jan. 26 win at UC Davis.  His total of 15 minutes in two games comes after he played a season-high 19 on Jan. 21 against Long Beach State.  Somogyi missed his only shot in the win at Pacific and he had one rebound.  In the game at Davis, although playing minimal minutes, he had five rebounds, two points, two assists and a blocked shot.  Somogyi made 5-of-6 shots and scored a season-high 10 points against Long Beach State.  In the last three games, Somogyi has made 6-of-8 shots and is now shooting 48.2% for the year.  In his last five games, the native of Budapest has collected 26 rebounds, 5.1per game, to lift his season average to 4.1 per game.  Somogyi had a career-high 10 rebounds on Jan. 19 vs. Cal State Northridge and his 26 rebounds in the last five have come in just 66 minutes.  He has had four or more rebounds 11 times this season. He has also had at least one blocked shot in 12 games and two or more eight times.  Somogyi recorded six swats in just 15 minutes on Nov. 26 vs. San Diego State.  He now has 168 in his career, second on UCSB's all-time list.   

• Taylor Made
Freshman T.J. Taylor made his first two starts of the season in UCSB's wins last weekend.  In the game at UC Davis, Taylor had four assists and two steals.  The four assists were the most he has had since he had five on Nov. 30 vs. UNLV while the two steals tied his season-high.  Taylor played 48 minutes in the last two games, his highest two-game total of the season.  He is now averaging 3.3 points, 1.9 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game.  He ranks fourth on the team with 35 assists and he has a solid 1.9-to-1.0 assist to turnover ratio.  Taylor also made his 12th three-point basket of the season in the win at Pacific, fourth on the team.   

• Buckle-Up
Sophomore Keegan Hornbuckle seems to have hit a wall in the last few games.  Since a stretch of three games in which he averaged 9.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game, he has averaged 2.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and 0.7 steals per game over the most recent three games.  After starting four games in a row, Hornbuckle has come off the bench in the last two.  Overall, he is now averaging 4.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and a team-leading 1.4 steals per game.  His team-leading steal total has come in spite of the fact he missed the team's first five games because of injuries.  Hornbuckle has scored in double-figures twice, on Dec. 16 at Washington when he had 11 and on Jan. 14 vs. UC Irvine when he recorded a career-high 14.

• The World According To Garth
Nate Garth played 13 minutes in the Jan. 28 game at Pacific.  He had a team-leading four assists to go along with two rebounds and a steal.  Garth is second on the team in assists at 2.6 per game.  Also against the Tigers, he missed all three of his field goal attempts and was scoreless.  Garth scored a season-high 12 points, making all four of his field goal attempts, including three three-point baskets, in the Big West opener on Jan. 2 against Cal Poly, but since then, he has had issues offensively.  In the last seven games, he has scored 15 points, 2.1 per game.  In the last six games, Garth has made just 3-of-20 shots overall and 1-for-9 from inside the three-point arc.  Garth has a team-leading 2.1-to-1.0 assist to turnover ratio and since having a season-high four turnovers in a Dec. 22 game at BYU, he has collected 21 assists and just six turnovers, a 3.5-to-1.0 assist to turnover ratio. 

 

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