Gauchos Battle Fullerton Thursday in First of Two Key Home Games to End Regular Season

Keegan Hornbuckle (Photo by Vince Agapito)
Keegan Hornbuckle (Photo by Vince Agapito)

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• This Week
Game No. 29
Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. 
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Fullerton Titans

at UCSB's Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif. 
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio:
On-Line Video Stream: BigWest.TV

Game No. 30
Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. 
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Riverside Highlanders

at UCSB's Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif. 
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio:
On-Line Video Stream: BigWest.TV

• Single Game Tickets Available!
Single game tickets for all Gaucho men's and women's basketball games are now available and can be purchased in advance from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here. Great seats for the showdown with Long Beach State, and for all games, are also available at the Thunderdome ticket office one hour prior to tip-off.

• On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 1290 KZSB and will stream live online at and Gerry Fall is in his ninth year as the play-by-play voice of the Gauchos. Former Los Angeles Lakers and UCSB superstar Don Ford  and Santa Barbara News-Press legend Mark Patton handle the color commentary.

• Talk'n Gauchos
UCSB Athletics' weekly radio show, Talk'n Gauchos, airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1290 KZSB. 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.  Fans can also catch Gaucho head coach Bob Williams every Thursday morning at 8:50 a.m. as he visits with Baron Ron Herron on "Bob and The Baron" on AM 1290.

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters Thursday's game against Cal State Fullerton with an overall record of 9-19 and a Big West record of 5-11.  The Gauchos ended a four-game losing streak on Saturday, Mar. 2 at Cal State Northridge with an 83-74 victory.  The win also snapped a five-game road losing streak. 

UCSB Takes Big Step Towards Tournament, Aims To Move Up
The Gauchos' win at Cal State Northridge on Saturday put them in the Big West Tournament.  UCSB has a one-and-a-half game lead over the Matadors and even if the teams finished tied, the Gauchos have the tiebreaker and would qualify.  On Thursday night against Cal State Fullerton, Santa Barbara will take aim at the No. 7 seed, currently held by the Titans.  Wins in their final two games could put the Gauchos in as the seventh seed.  The Big West Tourney is slated for Mar. 14-16 at Honda Center in Anaheim.  UCSB has played Long Beach State in the last three league title games. 

The Injury Report  
The Gauchos are getting healthier.  Junior guard Kyle Boswell, the team's second leading scorer, returned to action in a big way at Hawaii on Feb. 28 when he scored a career-high 27 points.  He kept it going with 18 more at Cal State Northridge.  Boswell had missed two games with a left shoulder injury.  Keegan Hornbuckle, who missed almost six full games with a sprained ankle, returned at Hawaii and played a season-high 21 minutes. He had 10 points at Northridge. Nate Garth, the only senior on the team, injured his left hamstring on Jan. 30 at Long Beach State, has missed the last eight games but hopes to play this weekend. Mitch Brewe suffered a fractured left index finger in practice the day before the Gauchos' Feb. 2 game at Irvine and is out the remainder of the season.  Finally, Forward John Green, a projected starter, also remains out with a broken bone in his foot and guard Aamahd Walker will redshirt with a back injury.

UCSB-Cal State Fullerton Game Set For 7:00 p.m.
UCSB's home game against Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, Mar. 7 has been set for 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.  The game was originally listed TBA because of the possibility of it being televised.  ESPNU, however, has decided to air the Long Beach State at UC Davis game instead.  In addition, the Gaucho women's game against Long Beach State, scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on the same day, has been moved to 3:00 p.m. to allow time for locker rooms to be prepared for the second game.  

The Opponents
UCSB and Cal State Fullerton have, according to our records, played 75 times in a series that goes back to 1977.  The Gauchos lead by a 40-35 mark.  In the Big West opener for both teams on Dec.29, the Titans defeated UCSB 86-79.  The Gauchos won the last meeting at the Thunderdome, 77-64 on Jan. 5, 2012. UCSB is 25-7 all-time against UC Riverside in a series that began in 1955.  The Highlanders beat the Gauchos in Riverside on Feb. 20, 54-45.  The last time the teams played in Santa Barbara, on Feb. 11, 2012, UCSB won 60-52.  

The Gauchos At Home 
UCSB is 6-6 at home this season after its 51-50 loss to Sacramento State on Feb. 23. The Gauchos have lost four of their last five home games.  The only win in the last five came over Pacific on Feb. 9, 66-53.  They have gone 3-4 in Big West home games this season.  In addition to the win over Pacific, UCSB has defeated UC Irvine and Cal Poly at the Thunderdome.

Probable Starters - Quick Fact (Note: These are almost completely guesses.)
G 11 T.J. Taylor- Has five or more assists 13 times this season, including game at Northridge. 
F 15  Alan Williams - Scored career-high 32 points, 24 in second half, in win at Northridge.
G 24 Michael Bryson - Kept Gauchos in the game at Northridge with 13 first half points. 
F 34  Shawn Moore - Has started four straight and made first career three at Hawaii.
F 35 Taran Brown- Now fourth on all-time UCSB  freshman scoring list with 310 points.

Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G 1   Nate Garth - Injured hamstring on Jan. 30 at LBSU and could return this weekend.
G 4 Aamahd Walker - Back injury will force him to redshirt.
F 5 Keegan Hornbuckle- Had season-high 10 points in win at Northridge.
G 10 Kyle Boswell - After career-high 27 at UH, had 18, all in second half, at Northridge.
F 12 Lewis Thomas - All 12 of his three-pointers this season have come on the road.
F 21 Mitch Brewe - Fractured finger on left hand will sideline him for the season.
G 32  John Green - Projected starter, broken bone in his foot has him out indefinitely.
G 43  Duke DaRé - Made his fourth career three-pointer in game at Hawaii.
F 44  Sam Beeler - Has made 29 of his last 44 field goal attempts, 65.9%.

Williams Passes McCarthy For Third On Big West Conference Victory List
The Jan. 19 win over Cal Poly was the 143rd Big West Conference victory for head coach Bob Williams since his arrival at UCSB for the 1998-99 season.  The win broke a tie with former New Mexico State head coach Neil McCarthy for third-place on the league's all-time list for conference wins.  Williams is now 145-99.   

Youth Is Served
The Gauchos' leading scorer is sophomore Alan Williams.  Their third leading scorer is freshman Taran Brown and the fourth leading scorer is freshman Michael Bryson.  Of the 1,813 points that UCSB has scored through 28 games this season 1,293, or 71.3%, have been scored by freshmen or sophomores.  Of the team's 891 individual rebounds 762, or 85.5%, have been collected by freshmen and sophomores.  Also, of the team's 122 blocked shots 122, or100.0%, have been recorded by freshmen and sophomores. Finally, of the 5,675 minutes played by all Gaucho players this season, 4,156 have been played by freshmen and sophomores, 73.2%.  

Block Party!
As a team, UCSB has blocked 122 shots on the season, a figure that is the sixth highest total in school history.  Led by Alan Williams, who has 57 in his 25 games, the Gauchos have four players in double-figures for blocks.  Williams' 57 ranks as the fifth most in school history.  He is joined in double-figures by Taran Brown with 27, Michael Bryson with 15 and Lewis Thomas with 10.  Brown is fourth all-time among UCSB freshmen while Bryson is seventh.  If they continue to average 4.36 blocked shots per game, the Gauchos would finish with about 135 blocks on the season, a figure that would rank second all-time.

Not Half Bad
UCSB recently had a three-game stretch in which it scored 49, 45 and 50 points.  On Mar. 2 at Cal State Northridge, the Gauchos scored 54 the second half.  They finished with 83 points in the win over the Matadors, their second highest total of the season.  The 83 points also equaled UCSB's previous high against a Division I opponent, but the first time came in overtime on Dec. 1 at Santa Clara.  The 54 points in the second half were easily the most points that the Gauchos have scored in a half this season.  Previously, they had 48 in the second half of a loss at Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 29.

Playing The Percentages
In the Mar. 2 win at Cal State Northrige, UCSB made 30-of-59 shots from the field, 50.8%.  It was the Gauchos' highest field goal percentage of the season and it marked just the second time in 28 games that they made at least half of their shots.  The only other time came on Feb. 9 against Pacific when they made 22-of-44 shots, exactly 50.0%.  To shoot 50.8% against the Matadors, UCSB had to make 18 out of 30 field goal attempts in the second half, 60.0%.  It was the highest percentage in a half this season.   

Three For All 
After making 12-of-27 shots from three-point range on Feb. 28 at Hawaii, the most threes the team had made since it hit 13 on Jan. 3 vs. UC Irvine, the Gauchos were 6-of-20 on Mar. 2 at Cal State Northridge.  UCSB has made 10 or more three-pointers 10 times this season and it remains on-track to break the school record for threes in a season.  The Gauchos are now averaging 8.1 threes per game and if they can match that average and play just three more games, they would finish with 250 on the year.  The current record of 242 was set over 32 games in 2007-08. 

The "Other" Williams
Sophomore forward Alan Williams helped carry the Gauchos to their 83-74 win at Cal State Northridge on Saturday night.  Williams had a career-high 32 points to go along with 16 rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots and a steal against the Matadors.  In fact, he had 24 points and 11 rebounds in the second half.  Williams is now averaging 17.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.  He is fourth in the Big West in scoring and he leads in rebounding.  He also paces UCSB in blocked shots at 2.3 per game and steals with 28.  The double-double at Cal State Northridge was the 13th of the season and 15th of Williams' career.  The 13 are the most by a Santa Barbara player since Eric McArthur had 23 during the 1989-90 season.  It also marked the first time in more than three decades that a Gaucho player compiled 30 or more points and 15 or more rebound in a game.  The last time was Jan. 22, 1983 when York Gross had 31 points and 16 boards in a loss to San Jose State.  Williams has scored in double-figures 22 times in his 25 games and he's gone for 20 or more nine times.  He has had 10 or more rebounds 15 times this year, incouding four of the last five games.  In fact, Williams' average of 10.5 rebound per game is a high-water mark for the season.  In the last five games, he has averaged 13.0 rebounds per game.  He has had a career-high 17 rebounds twice this season, on Dec. 1 at Santa Clara and Feb. 16 at Cal Poly.  The 17 rebounds are the most by a Gaucho since Josh Merrill had 18 against Westmont on Dec. 7, 1996.  Williams is also poised to become the first UCSB player to average a double-double since McArthur did so in 1989-90. He has 57 blocked shots this season, the fifth most in school history, and his 98 career blocks also rank sixth all-time.  He has at least one in 13 of the last 14 games and 21 overall.  In fact, he has two or more 18 times.  He has a high of five three times, once each against San Diego, UC Irvine and Sacramento State.  

Taran It Up
Freshman Taran Brown broke his nose in practice at Hawaii on Feb. 26 and has been forced to wear a protective mask in each of the last two games and, clearly, the mask is taking some getting used to.  In the two games since he broke his nose, Brown played a total of 34 minutes and was scoreless.  In fact, ,he didn't have a rebound in either of the two games and he missed all seven of his field goal attempts. Before breaking his nose, he had one of his better offensive games of the season, an 18-point effort on Feb. 23 vs. Sacramento State.  The 18 points that Brown scored against the Hornets were his highest total since he had 20 on Dec. 29 at Cal State Fullerton.  He is now averaging 11.1 points per game, third on the team.  Overall, he has tallied 10 or more points 18 times this year.  He has 20 or more three times.  Brown scored 22 and 20 in back-to-back games against Illinois State and The Master's College in mid-November becoming the first Gaucho freshman ever to score 20 or more in two straight games.  The 22 he had at Illinois State were the most by a UCSB freshman since James Nunnally had 22 against North Carolina on Nov. 21, 2008.  He has 56 three-point baskets on the season - a UCSB freshman record - ranking him second on the team.  On Dec. 29 at Cal State Fullerton, he made a career-high six three-point buckets.   Brown has had three or more three-pointers 11 times this season. He's made at least one in 21 of 28 games.  He had the first double-double of his career with 20 points and 13 rebounds vs. The Master's College on Nov. 17.       

Who's The Bos?
Junior Kyle Boswell missed games at UC Riverside and vs. Sacramento State with an injured left shoulder.  He injured the shoulder when he ran into a screen early in the second half of a Feb. 16 game at Cal Poly.  Apparently the rest did Boswell wonders.  In his first game back, Feb. 28 at Hawaii, he made 6-of-9 shots from the field - including 5-of-8 from three-point range - and a career-best 10-of-12 from the free throw line to finish with a career-high 27 points.  On Mar. 2 at Cal State Northridge, he had 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting overall and 3-of-8 from three-point range.  To be more specific, Boswell scored all 18 points in the decisive second half of the win over the Matadors.    He is now averaging 13.4 points per game, a figure that is at its highest since he scored 17 in the season opener at LSU.  His two-game total of 45 points (22.5 per game) is the highest two-game scoring stretch of his career.  Boswell has scored in double-figures in eight of 10, 11 of 14 and 17 of 21.  He tallied his previous career-high 23 points three times, most recently in a  Jan. 19 double-overtime win over Cal Poly.  He also scored 23 on Dec. 6 at San Diego State and Jan. 3 vs. UC Irvine.  At SDSU, he made a career-best seven three-point buckets, the most by a Gaucho since Joe See made eight at Utah State on Jan. 6, 2005. In his last five games Boswell has drilled 16-of-28 shots from long distance, 57.1%.  On the season, he has 72 threes, 18 more than he had in 31 games last year, and he has moved into sixth on UCSB's single-season top-10 list.  Boswell is shooting 43.1% from three-point range this season. He had made at least one three in 16 consecutive games before a Jan. 26 game against Hawai'i.  He has now made one or more in 24 of 26 and two or more 21 times. Boswell  has 137 career threes in 316 attempts, 43.4%, the second highest in school history. 

Taylor Made
Sophomore point guard T.J. Taylor has started the last 16 games.  On Saturday at Cal State Northridge, he had seven points and five assists.  On Feb. 23 vs. Sacramento State, he tied his career-high with three three-point baskets and had nine points.   Taylor is averaging 4.1 assists per game overall and 5.3 in Big West games, second in the league.  He has had four or more assists 15 times this season, including 14 of the last 17 games. On Feb. 9, vs. Pacific, he tied his career-high with 11 points, adding eight assists, three rebounds and two steals.  He also had three three-point baskets, a mark Taylor has hit four times this season. On Jan. 26 against Hawai'i, Taylor also had a career-high 11 points. On Jan. 5 vs. Long Beach State and Jan. 10 at Pacific, he had a career-high nine assists.  Taylor is averaging 4.5 points overall, but he is averaging 8.0 per game in the last three.  He has 27 three-pointers on the season and he's made two or more in 10 games.

The Life Of Bryson
Freshman Michael Bryson had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists at Cal State Northridge.  He has now scored 10 or more six times in the last eight games, averaging 10.7 per game over that span.  Overall, Bryson is fourth on the team at 7.4 points per game.  He had a career-high 15 points against Long Beach State on Jan. 5 and has been in double-figures nine times this season.  He is also averaging 3.4 rebounds per game, including 5.0 per game in the last nine.  He had a career-high eight on Feb. 7 vs. UC Davis.  He tied his career-high with three three-point baskets in each of the last two games.  He also had three on Jan. 5 vs. Long Beach State.  Bryson is third on the team with 37 three-point baskets, the fourth most ever by a Gaucho freshman. He is averaging 25.3 minutes per game, but has averaged 29.0 in the last 15.  Bryson has played in 27 of the 28 games this season, missing the Nov. 17 contest against The Master's College with a strained back.

The World According To Garth 
The team's only senior, Nate Garth, pulled his left hamstring on Jan. 30 at Long Beach State, missed the last eight games, but he hopes to return this weekend.  Garth logged just six minutes before injuring himself in the game against the 49ers.  Earlier in January, he missed two full games, and parts of two others, with a sprained ankle.  Garth is averaging 5.7 points and he is tied for the team-lead at 4.1 assists per game.  In his last full game, Jan. 26 vs. Hawai'i, he had eight points, eight assists and just one turnover.  Garth also had eight assists, to go with a season-high 13 points, in UCSB's Jan. 19 double-overtime win over Cal Poly.  His assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.2-to-1.0 is second on the team.  He had a career-high nine assists on Dec. 6 at San Diego State and has had five or more eight times in his 18 games.